Ellesmere Aurora - Photoshots - the web folio of Tony Stewart.

Ellesmere Aurora

I was gutted that I ignored the space weather indicators on St Patricks Day, that yielded one of the biggest solar storms in a decade. Accounts from this event from those who got out to experience it (everyone it seems but me!), was that it was spectacular. You know when people can see it in Palmerston / Gisborne, it has to be strong. So since then, I have been hyper-vigilent vowing not to miss another opportunity like that!

So last night I was battling with my desire to chill out at home and watch a movie, and looking at what was happening on some of the space weather guages. (I have a phone app that sends alerts). So somewhat belatedly as the movie went about a 1/2 more than I expected, I thought, right, just do it! So off I went about 10.30pm for a nosy.

Lake Ellesmere is a great vantage point close to CHCH, as it is both unobscured & south facing, and has some natural foreground interest. Fortunately, I managed to sneak in on the tail end of a sub-storm, and this is what you see here.

This is an stitched panorama, made from 11 vertical frames, each 30sec long at 2000 ISO at f4.

You can see the moon about to rise over the hills, just under the left arch of stars. The bright lights and trails along the base of the hill, is traffic on the Akaroa highway. Spanning over 180 degrees, the glow on the far right will be the night lights of Tai Tapu / CHCH. The bright lights on the right side of the lake I suspect is from outlying rural settlements – I suspect Southbridge / Leeston. Maybe even Timaru in the distance further on the left?

But starring centre stage of course is the elusive Aurora Australis, with its colourful glow and fingerlings of vertical light. I’m just kicking myself I watched the whole movie and didn’t get the whole light show from Mother Nature!

Oh well, there’s always next time!



Aurora Australis Lake Ellesmere 11th April 2015