It is one of the most spectacular natural phenomenons in the world, and on Sunday night, Tasmania was treated to taste of what it can offer.
A strong geomagnetic storm meant the sky glowed the unmistakable green of aurora australis.
What is also known as the Southern Lights generally peaks every 11 years, but can also be triggered by a burst of activity from the sun, which sends particles into the earth’s magnetic field, a process also known as a coronal mass ejection.
The green and sometimes red glow comes as result of the oxygen in the earth’s atmosphere, with nitrogen sometimes adding blue to the spectacle.
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery planetarium manager Martin George said predicting when the sky is likely to go green is far from an exact science.
“We need to learn more about the sun if we are to have an idea about when the next one is likely to appear,” he said.
“The last peak took 13 years and the next one is due around 2024, but there really is no substitute for just going outside and checking the skies.
“The sun can be quite erratic and if there is activity, it can sometimes be the result of a sun spot, which will face the earth again in 27 days.”
Aurora australis is often compared to its northern hemisphere equivalent, aurora borealis, which frequently appears above countries such as Norway throughout the year.
Mr George said there was little difference between the two spectacles, only in the best places to view them.
“People always ask me about the difference between the two, but the truth is, there aren’t any,” he said.
“The position of some of the northern hemisphere countries in relation to the north pole mean it is more visible.”
“For the south, Tasmania and New Zealand are the best places to see the lights.
See more photos from Sunday night here.