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Photographer's bucket list moment: Capturing Tasmania's vibrant aurora amidst solar storm

Pulse Tasmania
The aurora as seen by Sean O’ Riordan. Image / Sean O’ Riordan

Tasmania’s vibrant aurora was once again captured overnight, this time amid a rare geomagnetic storm that was one of the strongest in 20 years.

Classified as a level G4 or severe event by the Bureau of Meteorology, the solar storm caused bright auroras to be visible at unusually low latitudes.

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Photographer Sean O’ Riordan from Ireland captured a stunning image of the Aurora on Saturday after years of chasing the phenomenon.

He described it as an “insane scene to witness and photograph” and noted that he had finally ticked it off his bucket list.

Jules Witek at Port Arthur Historical Site Tasmania. Image / Jules Witek

“I’ve never seen a mash of colours like it and trying to control exposure and get it some way right was tricky,” O’Riordan said after waiting for his phone to buzz with the aurora alert around 3:15am.

“When the clouds are glowing red you know something is off the charts, I tried my best to desaturate this and make it look some bit like a photo and not a science fiction scene!”

Image / Sahil Sood

The Bureau forecasts that similar geomagnetic conditions may continue through Saturday night and Sunday morning, with the possibility of observing an Aurora in good conditions at high latitudes.

“Bright auroras usually last for 1 – 3 hours and the best viewing time is around midnight, between 10pm and 2am,” they said.

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“However, there’s no magic hour that you’re guaranteed to see auroras. Keen aurora chasers usually keep an eye on our real-time geomagnetic indices which show the level of geomagnetic activity.”

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