A dazzling display of lights lit up the night sky to welcome in summerwith many Aussies stayed up late to make sure they did not miss out.
The Aurora Australis were visible in several states late into the night on Friday and into the early hours of Saturday morning.
Also known as the ‘Southern Lights’, they are caused by a combination of natural forces occurring some 100km above the earth’s surface.
Views of the spectacular light show were particularly prominent across Western Australia, Victoria and South Australia which were promptly shared online star-gazers.
The Aurora Australis lit up skies on Friday night in several states across the country
In Victoria shades of pink were visible to the naked eye for those in the country who were away from the light pollution of the city
Aurora Australis is caused by solar flares emitting particles towards Earth which then smash into atoms in our atmosphere and create the mesmerising display.
The streaks of greens, purples, reds and yellows are formed inside the Aurora Oval where electrons emanating from the sun and gases from the planet collide.
These electrical discharges energise the atoms of oxygen and nitrogen, causing the release of the multicoloured light which was seen by thousands.
Each colour is representative of a particular distance from the earth’s surface.
They can also be seen from New Zealand and Antarctica and are the southern Hemisphere’s equivalent to the Northern Lights.
Displays can happen at any time of the year but are most common between March and September.
Stargazers rushed out to get a glimpse of what are also known as the ‘Southern Lights’ which were best seen between the hours of 10pm and 2am
In Tasmania viewers got some of the best sights thanks to its proximity to the Earth’s South Magnetic Pole
Any major urban light sources found near cities sadly obscure the Aurora Australis because of the light pollution which hides the Milky Way and the lights.
Tasmania is often considered the best vantage point to enjoy the show because of the state’s location to the Earth’s South Magnetic Pole.
The natural phenomenon occurs at the north and south poles, meaning people located in very high or very low latitudes have better chances of observing one.
Anyone who missed out in the first night of lights can look forward to potentially getting another shot to see them in the coming nights as the solar storm rages on.
The Perth Observatory has been documenting the current storm which caused a ‘sudden rise in auroral activity’.
People who planned on taking advantage of the storm to see the lights for themselves have been advised to bring a digital camera along to make the most of their trip.
‘It’s best to bring a digital camera and tripod or have a pro/night mode on your phone camera with you,’ staff at the Observatory suggested.
‘The aurora might be there, but our eye’s poor colour vision at night makes it hard to pick it out. This is where the camera will help you.’
The Bureau of Meteorology issued an aurora alert on Friday indicating a geomagnetic storm is active and warned that cloud coverage over Tasmania and along the eastern coast of Queensland could affect visibility.
The brightest auroras last about one to two hours and the best time to spot them is between 10pm and 2am.
The Perth Observatory said that that lights are caused by a solar storm where flares from the sun collide with atoms in the atmosphere which create the vivid display
In South Australia the lights were a mesmerising blend of red, pink and yellow and the milky way was clearly visible in the background
New South Wales was treated to a deep blue which blended into a soft velvet haze as the lights got closer to the horizon
For spectators located in lower latitudes, the lights will be seen from the horizon, although from here, less colour is emitted, usually shades of grey.
Dr Jeanne Young, a space weather forecaster at the bureau said stronger colours could still be observed from these points depending on the intensity of the solar storms.
‘You do have to be lucky to see an Aurora but if you do see one, you won’t be disappointed,’ Dr Young explained.
‘Ideally you need a dark night with little cloud cover, you don’t want a bright moon or any light pollution so a dark location such as a beach or hill where you have an unobstructed view to the south.
‘The colours displayed by an aurora are generally visible to the naked eye if you’re near the poles because the overhead aurora is more intense.’
Northern auroras – often know as the ‘Northern Lights’ – are called Aurora Borealis, which means ‘dawn of the north’.
Southern lights are called Aurora Australis – from the Latin term meaning southern, which incidentally, is how Australia got its name.