Australian Weather Calendar - March 2014

March Photograph by Colin Legg

Colours of the night sky captured

The southern lights are swirling, multi-coloured displays in the night sky that are occasionally seen on the Australian mainland. The displays occur when high-powered particles ejected from the sun collide with molecules such as oxygen in the earth's atmosphere.

While aurora australis is most commonly seen in Antarctica, some photographers such as Colin Legg of Perth chase them on the mainland, setting up their cameras to take photographs about every 30 seconds all through the night. Before setting out, the geologist checks the web for aurora predictions - the Bureau's Ionospheric Prediction Service has such a service - and regards himself as lucky to have captured an aurora in Western Australia in 2013.