On Mother's Day weekend, a surprise geomagnetic storm got astrophotographer Manoj Kesavan his first ever aurora photo.
Kesavan captured the image on May 8, 2016 from Lake McGregor on South Island, New Zealand where he was camping with his wife, Arya.
"On the way to our planned shooting spot, we were just trying to do a panorama of the Miky Way over the Mt. John Observatory, and on one of my frames we noticed a red/pink glow," Kesavan wrote in an email to Space.com. "I couldn't realize that I was actually capturing my 'first ever' aurora image. Arya looked at the LCD screen and she told me that our South Island trip was completely worth [it] now, after first 2 days of non-stop rain."
The southern lights, like their counterpart the northern lights, are auroras created by charged particles from the sun's solar wind interacting with Earth's atmosphere. The particles are funneled to the polar regions of Earth by the magnetic field, then emit brief flashes of light as they meet the atmosphere.
"How lucky we were to get a gift from the Mother Nature on Mother's day," Kesavan added.
Editor's note: If you have an amazing night sky photo you'd like to share with Space.com and our news partners for a possible story or image gallery, send the photo and comments to managing editor Tariq Malik at email@example.com.
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Nina Sen is a freelance writer and producer who covered night sky photography and astronomy for Space.com. She began writing and producing content for Space.com in 2011 with a focus on story and image production, as well as amazing space photos captured by NASA telescopes and other missions. Her work also includes coverage of amazing images by astrophotographers that showcase the night sky's beauty.