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The Southern Lights Forecast - Predict The Aurora Australis

Updated on July 18, 2012

Today we are going to take a look at the Southern Lights forecast or as it is also known the Aurora Australis forecast. This page will tell you what you need to know about the forecast and how you can predict the Southern Lights Aurora in advance. With the help of this page we will try to increase your chances of catching a glimpse of the Aurora Australis.

The Southern Lights also known as the Aurora Australis are the southern version of the more well known Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis. Spotting the Southern Lights is notoriously difficult due to the fact that there is very little land far enough south to give people the opportunity of seeing this wonder of nature. The fact is though that from places like New Zealand or the tip of South America you can often see the lights. But to increase your chances of seeing something it helps to be prepared and it helps to have a forecast.

The Southern Lights

The Southern Lights Forecast

You can predict the Aurora much like you can predict the weather. The lights are caused by solar particles colliding with the earth’s atmosphere. These come from the sun, so if there is a solar explosion often caused by a sunspot, a few days later you get spectacular displays over our polar regions. So we now have the scientific ability to predict just how active the Aurora is going to be. This is measured on a scale called the Kp scale which runs from 0-9. Nine is a very rare event which happens maybe once every ten years or so and this is when the Aurora really puts on a show.

So where can you find a forecast for the Southern Lights? Well as it turns out it is very difficult to find an Aurora Australis Forecast online. There don’t seem to be any websites offering the information or making it available to the public. However, don’t let this deter you! There are plenty of sites that offer a Northern Lights forecast. The reality is that the two Auroras run in the same way, so if there is a high level of activity in the North, the same will be true of the South. If a solar storm is approaching and the Aurora in the North has a high activity level, then you will also get some excellent displays in the Southern Hemisphere.

Aurora Forecast

What Does The Forecast Mean?

To the right of the screen you can see a map of the Southern Hemisphere. The green ring is where the Aurora is predicted to occur. This particular map is based on a Kp level of 6 which is very high and only happens a few times a year. The higher the Kp level the wider the ring spread out. On the very rare occasion we reach level nine, the ring extends all the way up to Southern Australia. When Kp levels are lower the rings falls well short of New Zealand and displays are much harder to see.

Again if you are looking for a Southern Lights forecast your best bet is to simply search instead for Northern Lights forecast and then you can use the information to work out how strong the Aurora will be in the South.

Predictions are very similar to the weather in that they are not always 100% accurate. You can get a forecast about four or five days in advance and this will give you a general indication of what to expect. So if four days from now the forecast is a Kp number of 1, then it’s not the time to be heading as far South as possible in the hope of seeing something. Whereas if four days in advance a Kp number 6 is issued, then your chances are greatly enhanced. If you are in a place where you can view the lights, you can get real time prediction that run around thirty minutes in advance. These are very accurate and can tell you what is about to happen, so you can run outside and witness the light show.

The fact is that the Southern Lights are far more difficult to see than the Northern Lights. But catch them on a good day and they can be just as stunning. To increase your odds of spotting the Aurora in the Southern Hemisphere it really does help to have a Southern Lights forecast. Hopefully the information on this page will have given you the tools you need to make you able to predict the forecast and catch a glimpse of the stunning Southern Lights.


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    • profile image

      Desert Hermit 

      2 years ago

      I'm extremely saddened that I have to literally roast out here in the desert and I'm not able to see the Southern Lights.


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