Flight to the Lights: Onboard Air New Zealand’s new aurora hunter

Flight to the Lights: Onboard Air New Zealand's new aurora hunter 1

An Air New Zealand jet flew into an aurora storm on a tour from Christchurch last night to view the Southern Lights.

An hour into our flight, my window began to glow green. One of the most beautiful shows on earth had begun. We’d flown into an aurora storm.

On Saturday night, as the sun was setting over the Southern Alps, one of the world’s most spectacular scenic flights lifted off from Christchurch. Typically, Air New Zealand flies passengers to a destination – but for this flight, the destination was just outside the window: the Southern Lights.

Flight to the Lights: Onboard Air New Zealand's new aurora hunter 2BROOK SABIN/STUFF

Stuff reporter Brook Sabin took this photo from his seat on the flight.

In 2017, Otago Museum director and astronomer Dr Ian Griffin organised the first-ever commercial flight to see the Southern Lights, known as the Aurora Australis, flying to an area over the Southern Ocean where the lights tend to shine the brightest.

The trip was repeated in 2018 but then put on ice – until travel company Viva Expeditions decided to revive it in the face of closed borders.

Article first published:  https://i.stuff.co.nz/travel/kiwi-traveller/300258188/flight-to-the-lights-onboard-air-new-zealands-new-aurora-hunter