When can I see the Southern Aurora Lights ?
Auroras are somewhat random natural phenomena. As such, they cannot be predicted accurately. Questions such as "when is the best time to see the Southern Lights" cannot be answered accurately. However over time, statistical likelihood can be used as a guide to plan your visit to increase your chances of seeing the Aurora.
Auroras can happen day and night, summer and winter. However they are only visible if the sky is dark. Therefore the following can be a guide:
The sample image below, shows the current extent and position of the auroral oval in the southern hemisphere, extrapolated from measurements taken during the most recent polar pass of the NOAA POES satellite. Find the outline of Tasmania in the bottom left of the image. If it has green colour over it, then the aurora will be visible.
Use these sample images to understand Auroral prediction
The Auroral Forecast product is based on the OVATION Prime model which provides a 30-40 minute forecast on the location and probability of auroral displays for both the northern and southern polar regions.
The statistical pattern depicting the auroral oval is appropriate to the auroral activity level determined from the power flux observed during the most recent polar satellite pass. The power fluxes in the statistical pattern are color coded on a scale from 0 to 10 ergs .cm-2.sec-1 according to the color bar on the right.
This presentation provides an estimate of the possibility that the aurora is located near a given location in the southern hemisphere under the conditions that existed at the time of the most recent polar satellite pass.
Click the button below for Aurora prediction for the next 3 nights.
Solar Cycles Affect Aurora Performances
Information about sun cycles that power Auroras
The sun rotates once every 27.5 earth days. Therefore, sunspots, like those often seen on the daily updated solar image above, move with the sun, beaming energy into space. It is these high intensity beams that generate the best Auroras.
To make a rough prediction of the next Aurora, find the date of the most recent aurora night, then work forward on the calendar 27 days. If the sunspot that created the recent Aurora is still active it will have traveled right round with the sun and will again be pointing towards Earth. That sunspot and resulting Aurora, might now be stronger or weaker, or even have disappeared.
The sun has an 11 year pattern, known as the solar cycle. It is measured by the visible number of sunspots. The more sunspots, the more Aurora energy is being beamed into space.
Right now (2023), the sun is building to Solar Maximum. The peak was formally predicted for 2025, but with recent observed sunspot activity, it is now looking like the peak might come in 2024. As a bonus, the sun is reversing its magnetic field right now. This magnetic flip causes the sun to beam extra charged particles as Aurora producing solar wind. The “solar peak over the next few years should be good.
Remote accommodation locations will boost your chances of seeing the Southern Aurora Lights
NOTE: There are NO land based tours to see the Southern Lights. Not by us, not by anyone else. There are dark sky accommodation locations that will improve your chances of seeing the Aurora.
There are accommodation locations where you can get the best chance of seeing the lights from your cabin but no one can guarantee a tour to see the Aurora.
The Aurora Australis, also known as Southern Lights, is sometimes seen in the southern sky from much of Tasmania. The best places are those with open sky to the south and no city lights. Buttongrass Retreat is excellent on an aurora active night.
Several Huon Valley Escapes properties have views to the south. Come for the waterways, wilderness and wildlife that we have on display every day. maybe you get lucky and see an Aurora as a bonus.
Totally dark sky, reasonable southward view
Also, see our Aurora refund guarantee below.
Where do you want to be waiting for the Aurora?
Flights for Southern Aurora Lights
NOTE: There are NO land based tours to see the Southern Lights. Not by us, not by anyone else. There are special flights that will improve your chances of seeing the Aurora.
Chimu Adventures offers seats on special Aurora viewing flights. Depending on chosen package, seats are priced around $1000.
Chimu says, "Join ... special flight to observe one of the world’s most magical natural phenomena—the Aurora Australis, also known as the Southern Lights. On this Southern Lights flight from Melbourne, board your comfortable Qantas Dreamliner in the early evening and travel over the Southern Ocean to the Southern Auroral Zone, returning the following morning.
As we fly, we’ll watch the vibrant, haunting lights of the aurora as they dance across the sky, changing shape and colour. To the naked eye, the beauty of the auroras most often appear a milky white or occasionally a green shade. ... The thrill of this spectacular scenic Southern Lights flight begins as you board the flight, joined by expert astronomers, providing information en route about how an aurora is created and pointing out their favourite constellations and night sky objects. We’ll also have a professional astrophotographer who will instruct you on how to photograph an aurora and assist on how best to use your camera.
The exact route we take will depend on the activity of the Aurora Australis that night, but regardless of our path, seeing the Southern Lights from the dark night sky, free from any light pollution, is an ethereal, magical, and unforgettable experience."
The refund can be claimed in the following instances: