A professional Tasmanian photographer has captured one of the rarest combinations of good looks the planet has to offer, merging the aurora australis with a touch of bio-luminescent plankton. The patronus-like blue of the seas is produced by a bloom of Dino-flagellates called Noctiluca scintillans, or sea sparkles. These light up when disturbed, even by gentle touch, perhaps as a way of drawing fish that feed off their predators.
The Aurora and Bioluminescence against star trials at the Marievale Esplanade Dog Beach Battery point, JO MALCOLMSON, BLACKKPAW PHOTOGRAPHY
Auroras also indicate a disturbance of the Earth's magnetosphere by the solar wind, which conducts charged particles into the higher atmosphere. Capturing the two together is tough, the current bloom has been gaining power in the waters of southern Tasmania in recent weeks, but at the same period the aurora has died down. Yet, Tasmania's rich pools of nature photographers are on the case, following on from the astonishing images taken of the strong bloom seen in May 2015.
These most recent images were all taken over the past month near Hobart, Tasmania, and are used with expressed approval from the photographers of the Facebook group Bio-luminescence Australia. The wind and tides swing the plankton around, so a beach sparkling blue one night can be dark the next. The Facebook group is used to keep people knowledgeable and informed of the best places to aspect. It is very uncommon to have two occurrences at the same spot within 18 months, mainly so near a city, and the return may be a sign of changing currents or higher temperatures.
The bioluminescence in this shot from September 2 hinted at what was to come. Wayne Painter
No aurora, but the dino-flagellates more than a formation for it. Leena Wizz
Waves washing up against rocks spark the scintillans to light up. Toby Schrapel
Jess Lane combines the luminescence with the backgrounds
No aurora on September 23 at Rokeby Beach so Leoni Williams added twirling LED lights.