Southern lights in the sky over New Zealand

Last weekend, November 10, a stream of rapid solar wind struck the Earth’s magnetic field, igniting a ring of auroras around the South Pole. Minoru Yoneto saw a red-violet glow in Queenstown, New Zealand.

“We were lucky that I caught another display during my surprise tour,” says Yoneto.


 
Queenstown is located at 45 degrees south latitude – at a considerable distance from the South Pole. That is why the auroras looked red. Auroras, circling the South Pole, must reach a very high level above the surface of the Earth to be visible in the hemisphere. At altitudes of more than ~ 200 km, the auroras become red. The ruby ​​glow occurs when particles of high energy from space enter oxygen atoms in the upper part of the atmosphere. Ionized molecular nitrogen adds a touch of violet to the high-altitude palette.