Great Southern Sky

in Photography5 months ago

The Aurora Australis or Southern Lights dances over the Great Lake of Tasmania's Central Plateau with individual beams or curtins visible. The phenomenon is sparked by electrically-charged electrons and protons accelerating down the Earth's magnetic field lines and colliding with neutral atoms in the upper atmosphere. The Central Plateau resides at an elevation of 1,036 m (3,398 feet) which provides clear sky's looking south to the pole. Green aurora tend to occur at altitudes from 100 – 250 km by oxygen atoms emitting light at 557.7 nano-metres. Red aurora are less common and form around 200 – 500 km from oxygen atoms emitting light at 630 nm. Tasmania, Australia

The shot was taken on a Canon EOS 6D at ISO 2500 using a Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS IF UMC with a 30s exposure time at f/1.4 . If your shooting towards the celestial poles you can use a slightly longer exposure time than normal before you start to get star trails as the rotation of the stars is in a much tighter circle.


If you would like to learn a little bit more about my background in photography you can read the interview @photofeed did with me here.

Robert Downie
Love Life, Love Photography

All images in this post were taken by and remain the Copyright of Robert Downie -


Stunning! I really want to see the northern lights in Alaska one day very soon.

Thanks. You have to be a fair way North in Alaska to see them as Alaska is a long way west from the Magnetic North. We have been fortunate to see both Southern and Northern lights. Mostly in Canada for the northern lights, but we saw them while sailing in Alaska also.

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Really, I never saw that. (Normal, I stay in tropical area !!). Really nice shot.

Well it is a whole continent and has a lot of different climatic zones. If you put Tasmania where Belize is the tip of Qld would be up in Canada.

Amazing, incredible those colors in the sky!!


Amazing ! ♥️


i haven't seen better than this

Thanks; that's a big complement.


said the owl

Those lights make some really pretty colours. If I were the travelling type I'd probably have a slightly higher chance of seeing these ones as I think I'm less likely to freeze to death in Tassie XD

They are harder to see in Tassie; you need a strong aurora event as its a long way north of the pole. The only thing that makes it possible is the fact that there is just the southern ocean to the south and the air quality is very good. You really need to spend 6 months in Antarctica to see the southern lights regularly.

NOPE way too cold XD

lol; problem in Antarctica is if you go for more than 8 weeks your going for the year !

No such thing as too cold just insufficient clothes.

To hot on the other hand; you can only strip down so far and your in your birthday suit.

I'm the type where it doesn't matter how many layers of clothes and blankets there are, I'll be cold XD

Wow that is a nice shot of Aurora!
Actually I didn't knew that there are Southern Lights as well. I saw Northern and only green, without coloured red (pink).

Awesome shot!

Surprising how many people say that . The world has a massive northern hemisphere bias.

Those colors are just nuts. I saw the Northern Lights several years ago in Canada, but it was just a gentle green, nothing this vivid!

Did you see the southern lights in your time in NZ?

Unless you are in a large solar storm (G6 or up) and close to the poles they never look as good as they do in the pictures. This is because they are faint and your cones which see in colour need more light. So you predominately see them with your rods which provide B&W vision. So smaller events often look B&W or just B&W mixed with a dirty green.

Oh interesting! I didn't know that, definitely makes sense why it appears that way. Thankfully we have cameras that can see better than us!

We didn't see any southern lights in NZ unfortunately, the conditions weren't good for them when we were in the south and I didn't plan very well the time of year that we ended up being in the southern lights hot spots. Next time hopefully!

Yep. You have to catch them somewehre when there are raging.

I'll put that on the bucket list!

I think its shorter to list the places I don't want to go ;-)

Haha yeah, totally agreed with you there!