The Best Places to See the Southern Lights
The Northern Lights are high on many traveler's bucket lists (and for good reason!) but they aren't the only light phenomena on the scene. The Southern Lights can only be seen from a few places in the world—far fewer than the Northern Lights, actually—but any traveler heading to the island of South Georgia; Stewart Island, New Zealand; the Falkland Islands; Ushuaia, Argentina; or Antarctica needs to make sure they're on the list.
More formally known as the aurora australis, these light have the same story as their northern counterparts: when solar winds introduce electrically charged particles from the sun into the atmosphere and interact with natural gases and the Earth's magnetic fields, a show of dramatic colors show up across the sky. And like with the Northern Lights, you need an extremely clear night in a dark space with no city lights in sight. The real reason why the Southern Lights are so much more elusive than the Northern Lights is that the amount of land in the southern hemisphere is much smaller than the area in the northern hemisphere—it's harder to get away from light-filled cities.
While you're most likely to see green light during a Northern Lights show, the Southern Lights often offer a much more vibrant set of colors, including oranges, pinks, purples, and gold in its palette. Ahead, you'll find a travel photography highlighting some of the most beautiful displays of the Southern Lights from around the world. Time to add another line to your bucket list.
Erika Owen is the Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.