‘Flight To The Lights’ Brought Its Passengers To The Aurora Australis

aurora australia

Last week, a charter flight brought its passengers closer to the Aurora Australis.

Last week, a charter flight brought its passengers closer to the Aurora Australis or the Southern Lights. Known as the ‘Flight to the Lights’, the flight took 16 hours but was reportedly worth every second.

The first “Flight to the Lights’ took place on March 23rd, 2017. It involved 130 passengers, the crew, and a Boeing 767 plane. This carried the sky gazers closer and through the Aurora Australis. This latter is the southern hemisphere equivalent of the Aurora Borealis from the northern one.

The “Flight to the Lights” Headed For The Aurora Australis

The charter flight took off from Dunedin, a town situated on the South Island if New Zealand. Its destination was the edge of the Antarctica, exactly 62 degrees of latitude. The to and fro flight took 8 hours for each leg of the journey, 16 hours in total.

“Flights to the Lights” is the idea of Dr. Ian Griffin. Presently, the astronomer is the director of the Otago Museum in Dunedin. Tickets for the charter flight were released in September 2016 and were reportedly sold in 5 days. Although the price was quite significant, the flight saw an international array of passengers.

Nonetheless, most of them expressed their delight at having taken part in this experience. Some deemed it a ‘life altering event’, and allegedly, none were disappointed. Still, some expressed a slight disappointment. They stated that the Aurora Australis colors were not as bright as they were expecting.

Aurora Australis And Its Origins And Colors

According to research, human eyes cannot are primarily set to work during the day. This is due to the construction of the cones which allow us to see colors. During the night, the human eye activates its rods. However, this mostly pick up grays and black.

“What to the eye may look like a pale green or even a white color – when you see a digital photograph the colors can be fantastic, it’s pulled out all sorts of colors that we can’t see with our eyes.”

This is according to David Neudegg. He is part of the Space Weather Services at the Bureau of Meteorology.  He also offered some details as to the origins of the Aurora Australis. As its name implies, this is a natural light display that takes place in the Antarctic high-latitude regions. It is the southern counterpart of the Aurora Borealis and has the same source.

This can be traced back to the Sun. As this threw a CME or coronal mass ejection, this crashes into Earth’s magnetic field and gives life to these light shows. Usually, auroras are green, whitish-yellow, or brownish-red colored. They can also be slightly blue.

According to Dr. Griffin, the flight organizers are already preparing for next year’s edition. It remains to be seen if “Flight to the Lights” 2018 will leave from the same location and with the same itinerary as this year’s trip.

Image Source: Flickr


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