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Southern Lights on the way


A treat's store for Aurora lovers, the Weather Bureau predicting dramatic Southern Lights displays for Tasmania's east coast, although partly cloudy conditions could hinder the spectacle.

Early tomorrow morning is expected to provide the best activity, following huge coronal mass ejections on the sun's surface.

Bureau of Meteorology Space Weather expert Dr Zahra Bouya said the colourful light shows are relatively rare for this time of the solar cycle.

"We are currently monitoring two coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which are large clouds of plasma that are ejected from the sun and travel at high speeds through space. They are both relatively slow moving and our model predictions have them passing over us on 15 and 16 May.

"When this material reaches Earth, most of it is deflected by the planet’s magnetic field. But as the CME passes over the Earth its magnetic field may connect with ours allowing huge amounts of energy to be transferred to our magnetic field, generating geomagnetic storms that can last for two or three days and produce dramatic auroras over successive nights," she said.

Top image: Toby Schrapel Freelance Photography