Destinations

Southern Lights: Have You Heard Of The Aurora Australis?

Move over Northern Lights! The new kid in the block – Aurora Australis – is just the kind of beauty you would want to have on your travel bucket list.

While the Northern Lights are on the bucket list – and rightly so – of a lot of travelers, they are not the only beautiful light phenomenon on the planet. Aurora Australis, the lesser known sibling of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), is just as beautiful.

But before you put it on your travel bucket list for the year, read on to know more about the phenomenon and the best places to see the Aurora Australis.

What are the Southern Lights and the Northern Lights?

explore, travel, destinations, southern lights: have you heard of the aurora australis?

An aurora is a natural phenomenon in the high latitude area of Arctic Circle (Aurora Borealis) or Antarctic Circle (Aurora Australis) that creates colorful light displays in the sky.

How are aurorae formed?
Charged particles emitted from the sun during a solar flare penetrate the earth’s magnetic shield on colliding with the atoms in the atmosphere result in numerous bursts of light (photons) that appear as Aurorae. These are formed 100 to 300 km above the surface of the Earth.

What is the name of the Northern Lights?
The term Northern Lights is used to refer the Aurora Borealis.

What is the name of the Southern Lights?
The term Southern Lights is used to refer the Aurora Australis.

What are the different shapes and colors of these lights?
Aurorae come in many colors – pink, green, yellow, blue, violet, and occasionally orange & white. Furthermore, there are six major categories of the auroral shapes – curtains, bands, veils, coronas, patches, and rays.

From where can you see the Southern Lights?

explore, travel, destinations, southern lights: have you heard of the aurora australis?

1. Antarctica

explore, travel, destinations, southern lights: have you heard of the aurora australis?

The best place to see Southern Lights is the continent of Antarctica itself. The southern lights are most impressive, most active, and most visible here; especially during the months of March to September.

But with the best views come certain difficulties. The ways to get into the continent during winters are filthy expensive and even dangerous. The temperatures are as low as – 50° C. Howling gales and dangerous ice packs are what define the winter topography of the area in winters. But those who can musher the strength and the money to be here in winters are sure to witness an amazing light show in the best place to see Aurora Australis.

Best time to visit: Antarctic winter, i.e between March and September

2. South Georgia Island

explore, travel, destinations, southern lights: have you heard of the aurora australis?

One of the southernmost islands in the world, South Georgia finds itself encased by ice for a major part of the year. But the island located to the southeast of Argentina can be easily reached during the months of March to September. Polar cruises are the most popular ways to get to the island.

The Antarctic winter beginning in the month of March offers dark skies that are perfect for viewing the southern lights. But to leave anytime after March for this island with no permanent residents is just too dangerous.

Location: South Atlantic Ocean in the South Sandwich Islands

Best time to visit: Antarctic winter, i.e between March and September

3. Ushuaia

explore, travel, destinations, southern lights: have you heard of the aurora australis?

Located in the far south of Argentina, Ushuaia is perfect for viewing the Aurora Australis or the Southern Lights. Despite its location down south, it takes a considerable amount of luck to merely spot the Southern Lights from Ushuaia and you have the poor weather of the city to blame. The persistent cloud cover makes it impossible to see the Aurora even if the sky lights up.

The city has its own airport. So, getting to Ushuaia should not be a problem. And to increase the probability of spotting the Aurora, try heading to a more remote place closeby to avoid any light pollution.

Location: World’s southernmost city, Argentina

Best time to visit: Antarctic winter, i.e between March and September

4. Falkland Islands

explore, travel, destinations, southern lights: have you heard of the aurora australis?

The lesser-known Falkland Islands are home to about 2,500 people and boast of outstanding beauty and a wide variety of wildlife – penguins, elephant seals, and much more. The island’s importance for the Aurorae is evident from the fact that a monitoring system here has been closely recording the activity of the southern lights since 2010.

With myriad stay options and air & sea connectivity, the islands of Falklands make a great vacation spot. And the darkest months of April to August increase the chances of spotting the lights in the sky.

Location: About 400 miles off the coast of Argentina, South Atlantic Ocean

Best time to visit: The darkest months, i.e between April and August

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