A tour company is packing Air New Zealand Dreamliners with aurora hunters and launching flights chasing the ‘Southern Lights’.
Viva Expeditions has chartered the Boeing 787 for March 20 next year to depart from Christchurch guided by a team of astrophysicist headed by Otago’s Dr Ian Griffin.
Timed to coincide with the Autumnal equinox the flight will offer an opportunity to see the Aurora Australis like never before. The Aurora which is caused by solar winds is a spectacular natural phenomenon sometimes visible in New Zealand’s skies. However while a sighting in southern skies might be up to chance – this sightseeing flight aims to bring aspiring astro-tourists to the lights, flying south to almost within the Antarctic circle.
Relying on a phenomenon called the Russell McPherron effect, at points in the southern hemisphere the interplay of interplanetary magnetic fields creates “windows” into space, through which the glowing aurora passes – with stunning effect.
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