Stunning Southern Lights Viewed From Passenger Plane

Posted: Mar 25 2017, 1:35pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
Stunning Southern Lights Viewed from Passenger Plane
Courtesy of Brad Phipps

The first ever flight to southern lights amazes passengers

The dancing lights in northern and southern hemisphere look incredible from Earth but the view becomes even more spectacular when seen miles above from Earth’s surface.

On Thursday night, 134 lucky passengers had a chance of seeing southern lights from a vintage point in the sky. The first ever chartered flight to view southern lights or Aurora Australis took off from the South Island on Thursday and reached as far as 62 degrees close to the Antarctic before landing in New Zealand early on Friday. Passengers were guaranteed a view of the Aurora and they were thrilled to get up-close with natural phenomena during the flight.

The seven-hour flight zigzagged along the path, so people on both sides of the plane could get a good look at the dancing lights. The lights were right in front of passengers when they looked out the window.

“I thought it was absolutely brilliant. We were right under it. There were beautiful streamers, auroral streamers. This green-colored stuff that moves quickly, it looks like you're looking into a green, streaky river." Ian Griffin, astronomer and the Director of Otago Museum in Dunedin shared his experience.

The charter flight sold out within five days in September despite being expensive with economy seats costing around $1,400 and business class sold for $2,800. According to Stuff.co.nz, passengers from as far away as Spain were part of the trip.

Auroras are colorful lights that occur when high energy particles released from the sun collide with the Earth's atmosphere. They are visible in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres and even on other planets like Jupiter’s atmosphere. These lights appear in many colors and patterns.

Since the recent trip proved so popular, organizers are planning another trip next year and with a larger plane.

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