London [UK], Mar. 24 (ANI): Following a huge explosion of magnetic field and plasma from the Sun's corona, Tasmania's skyline has been aglow in recent days - with vivid purple and green lights illuminating the horizon.
A few passengers, aboard the first commercial flight to witness the Aurora Australis, landed in New Zealand and the 130 star-struck passengers have taken to social media to share their experience.
The duration of the flight was eight-hours and it took off from the South Island on Thursday, flying to a latitude of 62 degrees south to view of the aurora.
"Our lives are forever altered by this incredible experience and we are eternally grateful to have been a part of this remarkable event", said passenger Roz Charlton on Facebook, as others shared their pictures under the hashtag #flighttothelights.
"We've travelled two-thirds of the way to the south pole, seen an incredible display of the southern lights, got lovely pictures and were home in time for breakfast," the organiser, Dr Ian Griffin, told New Zealand's TVNZ as reported by The Guardian.
The flight tickets were priced at NZ$4,000 for economy and $8,000 for business class aboard the Boeing 767, which returned to Dunedin.
Given the flight's popularity, organisers say they are planning a second one next year.
Aurora australis (also known as the southern lights, and southern polar lights) is the southern hemisphere counterpart to the aurora borealis. In the sky, an aurora australis takes the shape of a curtain of light, or a sheet, or a diffuse glow; it most often is green, sometimes red, and occasionally other colors too.
Like its northern sibling, the aurora australis is strongest in an oval centered on the south magnetic pole. This is because they are the result of collisions between energetic electrons (sometimes also protons) and atoms and molecules in the upper atmosphere . and the electrons get their high energies by being accelerated by solar wind magnetic fields and the Earth's magnetic field (the motions are complicated, but essentially the electrons spiral around the Earth's magnetic field lines and 'touch down' near to where those lines become vertical). (ANI)