Walking among the Stars

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 Is there anyone out there? Telegraph lines lead up to the Milky Way over Howden, Tasmania

Is there anyone out there? Telegraph lines lead up to the Milky Way over Howden, Tasmania

In the extremes of either hemisphere, there comes a time of year when it gets dark and cold early. The rains break and the desire to get out and about is shut down until summer. Well for many at least. Down here in the southern reaches of Australia where the next stop is Antarctica, it is no different. However, there is a little surprise for those who brave the cold winter nights.

 Salmon Farm Vista, Howden

Salmon Farm Vista, Howden

Walking away from the light pollution of the cities and the suburbs, a look to the skies reveals a breath taking array of stars and none more spectacular than the Milky Way. The Southern Cross, depicted on the national flag also burns brightly. Even without a telescope it is possible to see the red and green planets of Mars and Venus. But the greatest reward is the Aurora Australis. This year it has been providing a rich tapestry for photographers braving the cold winter nights in Tasmania.

A strange combination of light, magnetism and radiation from Solar Storms on our sun gravitate to the polar ends of our planet. In the north Aurora Borealis and the south the Aurora Australis. This year the activity generating the Auroras has been higher than previous years making it clearly visible from Tasmania's southern shores. But you do need a clear night. Many a night has shown great potential only to be thwarted by low lying clouds or worse rain. Like all things perseverance pays off.

 Aurora Australis and the Milky Way over Bruny Island and D'entrcastreaux Channel

Aurora Australis and the Milky Way over Bruny Island and D'entrcastreaux Channel

© Robert Oates | BALLANTYNE Photography