Breathtaking Aurora Australis lights up New Zealand skies

Beautiful green and purple lights danced across New Zealand's skies as the Aurora Australis lit up the night. 

Over the weekend the Southern Lights were visible from Canterbury and Otago.

Social media lit up with photos of the gorgeous lights, calling them "magical."

"Words can't even describe the beauty of what I experienced in Papanui Inlet this evening," Tweeted Otago Museum director Ian Griffin.


The photo showed beautiful pastel pinks, greens and purples lighting up the sky above the water.  

"The Aurora Australis is awesome."

Auroras are caused by solar flares sending charged particles towards earth.

 When these particles hit atoms in our atmosphere, they create the beautiful light displays known as the aurora. 

To have the best chance of seeing the lights, people should get as close to sea level as possible, and look due south towards the horizon, Professor Craig Rodger from Otago University told Newshub.

Southern regions have a better chance of seeing the lights because of the earth's magnetic field.

"There is a region of magnetic latitude which is the 'sweet spot' for aurora to occur overhead," he told Newshub in May.