Here Are Some of the Stunning Photos of the Aurora Australis If You Missed the Southern Lights Putting on a Show

Whether you slept through the colourful skies, couldn't see them in your part of the country or are keen for another glimpse, this is what the heavens looked like.
Sarah Ward
Published on May 13, 2024

Think about geomagnetic storms and you might think about disaster movies. If you were in a part of Australia where the Aurora Australis was visible over the weekend of Friday, May 10–Sunday, May 12, 2024, the term will now always be synonymous with a stunning sky show. Thanks to extreme planetary conditions, as per the Bureau of Meteorology, aurora sightings lit up the heavens — and widely, including not just in Tasmania, but also in Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia and even Queensland.

If there's ever been a reason to look at the night sky, this was it — and look, plenty of people did. So, whether you slept through the bursts of colour, couldn't see the Aurora Australis in your part of the country or are keen for another glimpse, there's ample photographic proof that inky black heavens gave way to psychedelic hues.


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A post shared by Luke Tscharke | Tasmania (@tscharke)

Missed all the details, too? The Bureau first issued a warning for a G4 geomagnetic storm on Friday, May 10, noting that the event — which sees the earth's magnetic field experience fluctuations — could arrive that night. The G4 grading is the second-highest on the G-scale, with G1 considered minor and G5 extreme.

The Bureau also advised that a few things can happen, such as disrupting power grids and satellite services, and also creating vivid auroras — including the latter in places normally considered dark-sky locations.

Then, on Saturday, May 11, the organisation revealed that the geomagnetic storm was a G5 event — the first since 2003 — and that the conditions would continue that day. On Sunday, May 12, it advised that the storm had shifted down to G3, but aurora sightings would still be possible.

Cue social-media feeds filled with spectacular snaps — some of which we've compiled above and below.


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A post shared by Ela / Australia (@sea.of.lights1)


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A post shared by Eliza Sum 沈韪嫦 (@elizasum)

For more information about the geomagnetic storm and Aurora Australis, head to the Bureau of Meteorology website.

Top image: patrickkavanagh via Flickr.

Published on May 13, 2024 by Sarah Ward
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