CHASING THE SOUTHERN LIGHTS

The wonders of the Aurora Australis

David Metcalf – 11 September 2015

Forget Alaska, who wants to chase the Aurora in shorts and a T-Shirt?

Well, that it just what I have done one three successfull outings in NSW, Australia.

In autralia we have something which is equally as mesmerising as the Aurora Borealis.  The Aurora Australis, or Southern Lights.

Aurora Australis

My name is David Metcalf and I am from Wollongong NSW.  Wollongong has a lattitude of about 34.5 degrees south.  In summer, we regularly swelter through 30 to 40 degree days and have some of the most amazing beaches in Australia and a breathtaking coastline.  Despite this, if the conditions on the sun co-operate, believe it or not the Awesome Aurora Australis can be seen from NSW.

In June this year, I headed up to Bundanoon on the Southern Highlands of NSW to excape the lght pollution of the city of Wollongong.  I was treated to an amazing showing of the Aurora Australis, lasting from 4am until sunrise (about 6am).  Whilst this Aurora was strong, It’s not the most intense we’ve had in NSW this year.   There have been three major NSW Aurora events in 2015.  The first was on the 7th January and the second was on the 15th March.

Aurora Australis

The Aurora Australis Springs to Life – Bundanoon NSW

The solar storm of the 23rd June was a big one!  Myself and two other fellow photographers stayed up all night until the early hours of the morning a Bonnie View lookout Bundanoon, with cameras pointed south.  Sure enough, around 4am we witnessed what we had been waiting all night to see!  The Aurora!

Aurora Australis

I had been keeping track of the sun and we (myself and my photography friends) we’re monitoring a large event that saw the release of three Coronal Mass Ejections in quick succession (over a period of 24 hours), and knew that if one caught up to the other there was a chance of strong auroral activity early on Tuesday morning.  Keeping that in mind we decided to do the all-nighter at one of our favourite viewing locations.

Aurora Australis

A breathtaking sight and a bucket list item ticked off

Bonnie View Lookout is just south of Bundanoon on Echo Point Road.  The lookout overlooks around 400 kilometres of Morton National Park.

Aurora Australis

At first it showed up on our camera screens as a pink haze and then by 5.00am as a stunning series of beams visible to the naked eye until it was washed out at around 6 am by the impending sunrise.

Aurora Australis

It is an experience I will never forget, and I have all the images to enjoy!  I’ve been told you never forget your first Aurora, and I think this will definitely be no exception!

If you’d like to see more or learn all about shooting the lights and the night sky, check me out at the following addresses;

Web www.djmimages.com

Facebook www.facebook.com/djmphotos

Instagram @djm_images

Kellie from Adventue Tours Australia has written a lovely blog about my recent hunt for the ellusive Aurora Australis (see link below).

ADVENTURE TOURS AUSTRALIA

If you would like some more info, or to come along on a chase feel free to contact me using the form below, or head on over to our facebook page: Aurora Australis NSW/ACT

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