Stunning Timelapse Shows Southern Lights From Charter Flight
Astronomers and nature photographers were treated to a stunning view of Aurora Australis, also known as the southern lights, on an eight-hour charter flight from New Zealand on March 23-24. The 150 passengers were aboard an Air New Zealand Boeing 767 flight that departed Dunedin at 9 pm on March 23 and headed two-thirds of the way to the South Pole, as far as latitude 62 degrees south, before returning at 5 am. The flight was timed to take advantage of the equinox aurora effect, where there was 12 hours of daylight and 12 of darkness, so passengers were nearly guaranteed a view of the Aurora Australis, the New Zealand Herald reported. On a Facebook group devoted to the flight, tired but starstruck passengers gushed about their trip. “Our lives are forever altered by this incredible experience and we are eternally grateful to have been a part of this remarkable event,” wrote Roz Charlton. Others called it “magical” and “amazing”. The experience wasn’t cheap. Tickets were NZ$3950 (US$2775) for two economy seats and NZ$8500 (US$5973) for a pair of business-class seats. Organisers sold the seats in pairs to avoid squabbles over who would get a window seat. The flight flew in a zig-zag pattern, crossing the international dateline four times, so both sides of the plane could capture a glimpse of the light show, according to the Otago Daily Times. While sightseeing flights to see the Northern Lights are not uncommon, this was the first-ever to see the Southern Hemisphere’s version. Given the success of this year’s flight, with tickets selling out within five days of going on sale, organisers hope to schedule another one in 2018, Newshub reported. This video shows a time-lapse of the lights. Other social media reaction is shown below, however, those posts have not been licensed and are for embed only.