Solar storm aurora will light up NZ's skies tonight

NZ 16/02/2018

A solar storm is set to create an aurora that can be seen in New Zealand skies.

The storm happened about six days ago and its particles are just reaching earth, with the light show peaking from 10pm until 11pm on Friday evening NZT.

An aurora is a light display in the sky, produced when high energy particles from solar wind or the sun hit the atmosphere, creating lights of different colours.

"The sun is spewing out charged particles - they race out all across the solar system, and occasionally they head towards us," Stardome astronomy teacher Josh Kirkley told Newshub.

Mr Kirkley said the light show comes in waves.

"It was quite strong last night which was unexpected. Most of it is expected to hit tonight, but you really can't tell almost up until the hour."

For the best view Mr Kirkley says head out of the cities, and those in the South Island are likely to get a better glimpse.

"You want to get away from light pollution, to a dark sky. Anywhere that has an unobstructed view of the...If you're in the Southern Alps, up a mountain or something, that would be great."

Because its summer and the nights are shorter, the aurora could be harder to spot from New Zealand.

Newshub.