The northern and southern lights are probably the eeriest cosmic views available to us here on Earth, and 150 people on a flight from New Zealand learned that first-hand this week.
The Air New Zealand charter flight took off on March 23 to give passengers their best shot at seeing the cosmic lights thanks to the 12 hours of darkness provided by the equinox.
A seat on board the chartered flight wasn’t exactly cheap. Two economy seats were sold for $2,775, and two business-class seats went for $5,973.
“What an amazing night we all had,” one of the passengers said in a Facebook post.
The northern and southern lights are usually only visible in the high latitudes of our planet due to Earth’s magnetic field.
The lights are created when charged particles from the sun stream to our planet and are dragged down to the poles along magnetic field lines.
Many of those charged particles are stopped before they reach Earth’s atmosphere, however, some can make it through and slam into neutrally charged particles in the planet’s upper atmosphere.
That interaction makes the particles glow, creating the curtains of the aurora.
Auroras can sometimes sneak down into lower latitudes if the sun unleashes a particularly intense solar storm, which would deliver a greater density of solar particles to Earth’s part of space.
Video credit: YouTube/Stephen Voss via Storyful