Another glimpse of auroras likely for third day in a row

Stargazers still have a chance to catch a rare glimpse of the Southern Lights.

The glowing natural wonder's been lighting up the skies for the past two nights and seen as far north as Auckland.

Larryn Rae specialises in capturing the brilliance of a starry night and he never expected to get such a spectacular shot so far north.

"It just was crazy, crazy out there. So I'm really stoked," he told Newshub.

"You're just relying on Mother Nature to do her thing, you know. You can't do anything with the clouds in the sky - we were just fortunate that the clouds parted that night and that we could see it."

The reason the aurora was so bright and seen so widely comes down to luck.

Aurora Southern Lights (Kirsty Tamatea / supplied)
(Kirsty Tamatea / supplied)

Stardome's Grant Christie says it's caused by particles spewing out from the sun in a kind of 'solar wind'.

It's typically a breeze but this time we got a gust, trapping plenty of those particles in Earth's magnetic field.

"It's like shotgun pellets from a shotgun, travelling through. And the Earth may or may not intersect that shotgun blast - and we just caught the edge of this one," Mr Christie told Newshub.

The closer you are to a magnetic pole, the better the colours - that's why the north got mainly red.

Aurora Southern Lights (Ian Griffin / supplied)
(Ian Griffin / supplied)

The best way for people to get a glimpse in the north of the country is to get away from the cities, potentially to one of the West Coast beaches.

But be warned - auroras can be hard to spot with the naked eye.

The latest blast of solar wind is now beginning to taper off, so it's likely the auroras will drop off again in the next few days.

"The coronal hole that's giving rise to this aurora is slightly turning away from the Earth, and that probably means over the next few days that the conditions will fall off a little bit," Otago Museum's Ian Griffin told Newshub.

"But if I have clear skies tonight, I'll be going out tonight and looking because you might see something. No promises of course, because this is the aurora we're dealing with."

Newshub.

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz