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aurora-australis
Skygazers are in for a treat (stock)

Aurora Australis

Aurora Australis

Skygazers are in for a treat (stock)

Fingers crossed for a clear view of the Aurora Australis

Gippslanders with a passion for astronomy or just those who love looking up in the sky are in for a treat.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology's Space Weather Services, tonight and tomorrow night offer the best opportunity to see Aurora Australis.

Bureau of Meteorology space weather expert Dr Zahra Bouya says the spectacular light shows are relatively rare for this time of the solar cycle and are due to a number of solar eruptions from the sun's visible surface.

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"We are currently monitoring two coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which are large clouds of plasma that are ejected from the sun and travel at high speeds through space. They are both relatively slow moving and our model predictions have them passing over us on 15 and 16 May," Dr Bouya said.

"When this material reaches Earth, most of it is deflected by the planet’s magnetic field. But as the CME passes over the Earth its magnetic field may connect with ours allowing huge amounts of energy to be transferred to our magnetic field, generating geomagnetic storms that can last for two or three days and produce dramatic auroras over successive nights."

Gippsland's stargazers have their fingers crossed for clear skies to the south. Dr Bouya suggests somewhere dark to watch the cosmic event.

"To see the aurora, you'll need a very dark and clear night so early morning, after the moon sets, between 3am and 5am, is best over the coming days. Headlands or a dark beach are usually the best viewing spots."

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