12 May 2024

Spectacular aurora captured in Lauder: 'The best in many, many years'

From Sunday Morning, 10:30 am on 12 May 2024
Aurora as seen from Lauder in Central Otago.

Aurora as seen from Lauder in Central Otago. Photo: Darryl Jones

Darryl Jones - a keen aurora observer and photographer - captured this photo of the Aurora Australis at the zenith from Lauder, Central Otago, at 12.30am on Sunday.

"I can confirm [the] display was one of, if not, the most spectacular I have ever seen and recorded. I stayed up all night. It was the best I've seen in many, many years - since the 80s."

Jones was heavily involved with resurrecting the Aurora Section of the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand in the 1980s. He says an aurora of this scale was uncommon in Aotearoa skies, given the latitude, and that in areas south of Lauder it "would have covered the whole sky".

Jones points out the Southern Cross is visible in the top left quarter of the photo and promises the photo was taken with a five second exposure, straight from the camera "with no Photoshop (or AI) manipulation".