You may have seen photos doing the rounds on social media, the night sky south of Canberra appearing filled with flashes of purple and green.

The natural light show is called Aurora Australis and it’s usually only visible from Tasmania, but due to recent activity from the sun, people have reported seeing the display as far north as Dubbo.

We spoke to Astrophysist at the Australian National University Dr. Brad Tucker about the Aurora, which he says works like a neon sign.

“Gas from the plasma of the sun travels through space and slams into the earth’s atmosphere. It works similar to neon signs, you have a gas you put an electrical charge through it and it glows”.

As to why we can see space’s natural neon sign from Canberra, Dr. Tucker says there’s been a lot of storm activity near the sun, resulting in the spectacle.

“The aurora depends on how many storms leave the sun, we had a big storm that left the sun a few days ago it takes about three days to reach the earth, the bigger the storm the more excited the gas is and the more likely you’re going to see the aurora.”

And if you missed the Aurora this time around, you’re likely to get a chance to see it pretty soon.


“Monitor the Bureau Of Meteorology, they have an aurora forecast, so even if you don’t see tonight we’re in a period of activity for the sun for the next few years, over the three to four years it may be quite a few times that we’ll be able to see the aurora in the Canberra Region.”

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