See Dazzling Photos From the World's First Chartered Flight to the Southern Lights
A stunning natural phenomenon gets captured up-close.
For the 134 passengers flying aboard the world’s first chartered flight to see the Southern Lights, the journey was all about the unforgettable views.
The Air New Zealand Boeing 767 charter plane left Dunedin, New Zealand on March 23, taking guests on a journey to get an up-close look at the mesmerizing Aurora Australis, which can have colors ranging from greens to oranges, pinks, purples, and gold.
Dr. Ian Griffin, director of the Otago Museum in New Zealand, came up with the concept after flying as a guest on a NASA observatory plane and catching a glimpse of the spectacular display, according to the Associated Press.
Just five days after the thrilling journey was opened for booking, it was sold out and had travelers coming from far-flung destinations like Spain to experience the trip.
The trip included only window seats and those immediately adjacent to offer the best views, with one seat in economy costing roughly $1,400 and business seats coming in at double the price.
Travelers were able to view the phenomenon for about five hours while traveling below the 60th parallel south. They flew through the aurora zone several times to ensure all of the passengers got a look at the views.
“We were right under it,” Griffin told the AP. “There were beautiful streamers, auroral streamers; this green-colored stuff that moves quickly, it looks like you’re looking into a green, streaky river."
A video taken on the flight showcases just how incredible the view was.
Similar to the Northern Lights, the Southern Lights occur when solar winds bring electrically charged particles from the sun into the atmosphere, combining with natural gases and our planet’s magnetic fields to create the colors seen in the sky.
Thanks to the success of the journey, Griffin told the AP he’s thinking about bringing it back next year.