Aurora Australis by Ern Mainka

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Aurora Australis (or Southern Aurora) March 1990, from Queenscliff Pier, Victoria, Australia.
This aurora appeared out of the darkness unexpectedly just before driving back to Melbourne after a days outing. It’s sudden appearance grew and peaked in brightness in less than a minute and gradually diminished over about 10-15 minutes.
Nikon F3, Fuji RDP film.
© Ern Mainka

Severe Geomagnetic Storm Intervals in History
And Future Prospects…

‘….Historically, some of the most intense geomagnetic and auroral storms have occurred during the declining years of the solar cycle. For example, the most severe geomagnetic storm on record occurred on 17 September 1941. That was 53 months after the solar maximum. In fact, this 1941 storm occurred during a time when the sun was closer to the solar minimum than the solar maximum. Severe geomagnetic storms have also occurred within just a few months of the Sun’s actual solar minimum as well, which confirms the fact that significant space weather activity can occur at any time during the solar cycle.

We hope that this information will help dispell the popular myth that geomagnetic and auroral storm activity on the Earth will stop now that we have passed the solar maximum. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Statistically, the declining years of the solar cycle are the most stormy in terms of geomagnetic and auroral activity.’


  • billyboy
    billyboyabout 7 years ago

    Ern, this is awesome. Of magnetic origin like the northern lights? What time of evening was it? Cool you had your camera and tripod at the ready. Great take!

  • GittiArt
    GittiArtabout 7 years ago

    Breathtaking !!!!

  • kathywaldron
    kathywaldronabout 7 years ago

    colours so wonderful, magic shot!

  • Ern Mainka
    Ern Mainkaabout 7 years ago

    Billyboy. Yes, both poles have aurora due solar particles interacting with the ionosphere /magnetosphere. It happens on Saturn and other planets too. NASA has interesting images. About an hour after sunset on this occassion.

  • AdamDonnelly
    AdamDonnellyabout 7 years ago

    I’ve been on that Queenscliff pier before but I had no idea you could witness this from here. I thought it was a great spot when I visited ( it was really windy & my son pointed out to me a dead penguin with a missing eye but I still loved the place). Wow what a sight to behold let alone photograph.

  • Leanne Robson
    Leanne Robsonabout 7 years ago

    It’s all about being in the right place at the right time. And you were. Great capture.
    I didn’t know we could get them in Vic either.

  • RanyLutz
    RanyLutzabout 7 years ago

    Spectacular image!!!

  • funkyfacestudio
    funkyfacestudioabout 7 years ago

    Awesome capture, the colors are intense.

  • sweetscent62
    sweetscent62about 7 years ago

    Awesome : ) love the red… I wonder if this is the sight my dad saw years ago….we didn’t know what it was at the time. Hmmm… Would you be able to see it from Healesville? Wen

  • Yes Wen. Sometimes it’s been seen as far north as the outback Queensland border area on rare occassions.

    – Ern Mainka

  • sweetscent62
    sweetscent62about 7 years ago

    Wow.. that’s cool Ern : )

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