VIDEO: Solar flare brings aurora
Mon, 16 Jul 2012 11:26a.m.
By 3 News online staff
Friday morning's massive solar flare has brought amazing views to South Island stargazers, an aurora australis lighting up the skies above Canterbury on the weekend.
The X-class flare – the strongest the Sun produces – triggered a geomagnetic storm, resulting in the aurora.
Footage shot in Tekapo and uploaded to YouTube shows a bright green glow above the horizon, with periodic outbreaks of red beams shining higher into the sky.
Video from Darfield also reveals green areas appearing at the very top.
It was the second major flare of the week, the sixth X-class of the year and so far, the largest. Flares, if big enough, can cause havoc with electrical systems and communications.
The sun is in the midst of the active phase of its 11-year cycle. Activity is expected to peak next year.
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