As appeared on Astronomy Picture of the Day the Southern Lights or Aurora Australis is photographed above the southern coast of Australia near Melbourne. The Milky Way is visible over the southeast in the constellations Scorpius (at the horizon), Ara, Norma, Centaurus, and Crux (the Southern Cross, at top). On the right two satellite companions of our Milky Way are visible, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, each a galaxy of its own but much smaller than the Milky Way. Aurora is caused by the solar wind; energetic charged particles originated from the Sun. The Earth’s magnetic field traps these particles and many of them travel toward our planet magnetic poles where they collide the molecules in the atmosphere and cause energy releases in the form of auroras appearing in large circles around the poles. But when stronger streams of particles, made by solar eruptions, reach the Earth the aurora circle spread to the lower latitudes such as the southern Australia.



comments (4)

  • Anthony H Reply

    I was absolutely unaware of the TWAN site until I hap-hazardly happened upon a mention of The World At Night on a Totally unrelated site . . much to my Delight!

    I would like to congratulate Mr Alex Cherney and of course all the other photographic Artists for their most Wonderous Amazing photography, and express my appreciation for being able to view their work on your TWAN site.
    And Thank You T W A N . . . I LOVE your Work ‘you marvelous people’

    April 27, 2012 at 3:50 am
  • Lisa Reply


    May 15, 2012 at 9:12 am
  • James Garasich Reply

    Excelleant composition. Very outstanding.

    August 9, 2012 at 9:04 am
  • Beckie Reply

    The beauty of our universe leaves me breathless. Seeing the aurora is on my bucket list.
    Thank you for this marvelous video.

    January 30, 2017 at 6:49 pm

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