Low Geomagnetic Activity
Aurora only visible with a good camera (Long Exposure & high ISO).Visible for good cameras.
Not visible by eye.
Moderate Geomagnetic Activity
Aurora might be visible with the naked eye. Clearly visible with a camera (Long Exposure & moderate ISO).Visible for cameras.
Might be visible by eye.
High Geomagnetic Activity
High chance for aurora to be visible with the naked eye. Clearly visible with a camera.Strongly visible for cameras.
Visible by eye.
When should you go aurora hunting?
Make sure the weather is clear. The fewer clouds the better, so make sure you can see the stars before you go. Aurora often appears only low on the horizon, so make sure there are no clouds blocking your view.
What to expect.
Do not have high expectations! The southern lights are not easy to see from southern New Zealand. The chances are low to see one in the first place and even lower to see one that is strong enough to be visible by eye. If you are out there and hunting for aurora do no forget to enjoy the stunning night sky! Also, bring enough warm clothing and be prepared to wait in the dark for a couple of hours...
How it works.
The program estimates geomagnetic activity from the maximum disturbance of the X component (horizontal, N-S) of Earth's magnetic field. It creates alerts when it exceeds some threshold, where the disturbance = | quiet day curve - measured value |. The plots and the most recent maximum hourly value are recalculated every 10 minutes. Alerts are issued as soon as a threshold is reached which means it is possible several alerts of different levels are issued in a one hour period. Link to the archive.
Southern New Zealand Aurora Nowcasting
About this Website
This is a free service offering alerts of when the aurora might be visible from southern New Zealand, especially Dunedin. It is run by scientists in the Space Physics group at the University of Otago at the Department of Physics.
We run this Aurora Warning/Alert System with the best intention to improve the experience for aurora hunters in southern New Zealand. However we do not guarantee that the warning is 100% accurate and might not be available 24/7.