Aurora Australis
Dunedin Nowcast Level


Where to go to look for aurora?

You need a clear view to the south. The best places to do that are dark beaches on the east coast of the southern part of South Island. In Dunedin you can for example go to:

See Dunedin's weather forecast
See a detailed cloud-cover forecast

When should you go aurora hunting?

Make sure the weather is clear. The fewer clouds the better, so make sure you can see the stars before you go. Aurora often appears only low on the horizon, so make sure there are no clouds blocking your view.

What to expect.

Do not have high expectations! The southern lights are not easy to see from southern New Zealand. The chances are low to photograph them with a sensitive camera, and even lower to see one that is strong enough to be visible by eye. If you are out and hunt for aurora, do not forget to enjoy the stunning night sky! Also, bring warm clothing and be prepared to wait in the dark for a couple of hours…..

How it works.

The program estimates geomagnetic activity from the maximum disturbance in the X component (horizontal, N-S) of the Earth's magnetic field. It creates alerts when it exceeds a selected threshold, where the disturbance = |quiet day curve - measured value|. The plots and the most recent maximum hourly value are recalculated every 10 minutes. Alerts are issued as soon as a threshold is reached which means it is possible several alerts of different levels are issued in a one hour period. Link to the archive.


Low Geomagnetic Activity

Aurora only visible with a good camera (Long Exposure & high ISO).

Possibly visible for good cameras.
Not visible by eye.


Moderate Geomagnetic Activity

Aurora might be visible with the naked eye. Clearly visible with a camera (Long Exposure & moderate ISO).

Visible for cameras.
Might be visible by eye.


High Geomagnetic Activity

High chance for aurora to be visible with the naked eye. Clearly visible with a camera.

Strongly visible for cameras.
Visible by eye.

Detailed Prediction

Satellite image of last night's aurora levels

The satellite observations are made by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership weather satellite, operated by NOAA. This image is the Near Constant Contrast product made using the Day Night Band of the VIIRS sensor. Similiar images are available for daytime, nightime over Western Europe and the UK, and also New Zealand's overpasses by the NOAA-20 satellite. See the Latest Auroral Images from Space website for the most recent of these pictures. New Zealand image processing provided by the Otago University Space Physics Group.

Follow @AuroraAlertNZ on twitter to get real time alerts

only strong alerts all alerts

Southern New Zealand Aurora Nowcasting

About this Website

This is a free service offering alerts of when the aurora might be visible from southern New Zealand, especially Dunedin. It is run by scientists in the Space Physics group in the University of Otago at the Department of Physics. The Macquarie Island and Eyrewell data is typically slightly time-delayed (for normal operations this can be as much as 1 hour).


Observations are provided by the Australian Antarctic Division via Intermagnet, GNS Science, and the Otago University Space Physics Group. This website and the aurora nowcasting code was created by Moritz Wolf, and maintained by Dr James Brundell.


We run this Aurora Warning/Alert System with the best intention to improve the experience for aurora hunters in southern New Zealand. However we do not guarantee that the warning is 100% accurate and might not be available 24/7.

University Of Otago
Otago Museum