Feb 1, 2017

Things That Glow In The Dark.

I consider myself extremely fortunate to live  in one of the most beautiful places in the world- Tasmania. We have a cool temperate climate with four distinct seasons- sometimes all four will present in one day! We are the seemingly tiny island at the bottom of the mainland of Australia. But just ask any tourist who has tried to see Tasmania by car in a week and they will tell you it is not so small.
One of the most spectacular things about living in Tassie is we are far enough south to see the Aurora Australis or Southern Lights. I first saw the Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis whilst living in Scotland for the first four years of our marriage. I will never forget that awesome glow in the sky while we were driving through the highlands late at night.

And I will also never forget the first time I saw the Southern Lights in Tasmania. We were at our holiday home, which in Tassie is called a shack.  Confusing, because a shack can mean anything from a rustic cottage with no electricity to an architecturally designed award winning house.  We were playing spotlight with the kids in the sand dunes. For those of you who don't know what spotlight is, it is basically hide and seek with torches. The person who is 'in' has to find the people hiding by shining a spotlight on them. We were dashing behind the coastal wattle bushes in the sand dunes to escape the glow of the hunter's torch when we looked towards the southern sky and it looked like huge searchlights waving across the sky. My husband who is a keen astronomer ( it's one of his six university degrees) then proceeded to give our boys an astronomy lesson.

We have seen the Southern Lights too many times to count over the years. Some times they are truly spectacular, other times just a faint glow. It is such a magical feeling to be sitting on the deck at our shack and watching the light show. But even when we can't see the Aurora, the stars are just as amazing on a clear night. We have had interstate and international visitors just look up and gasp as there is virtually no light pollution where we are. It really is the most majestic sight.

Have you ever seen the Southern or Northern Lights?  Or a particularly starry night sky? I have a signed copy of my latest release The Temporary Mrs Marchetti for a reader who leaves a comment.


Best wishes,
Melanie x

43 comments:

  1. Hi Melanie

    No sadly but Tasmania inbon my list of places to visit so maybe one day I will get there fingers crossed it must be amazing to see :)

    Have Fun
    Helen

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  2. Hi Melanie

    No sadly but Tasmania inbon my list of places to visit so maybe one day I will get there fingers crossed it must be amazing to see :)

    Have Fun
    Helen

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    1. Helen, you would love it. And much cooler than NSW!

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  3. Northern lights is on my bucket list, Melanie and we're heading to Scotland for my 50th (in a few years) to see them :-)
    It would be awesome to live in a place where you see them often. Looks like I need to get to your beach shack :-)

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    1. You are welcome anytime! Scotland is a must see. I'm longing to go back.
      You 50? Must be years and years away!😃

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    2. Isn't Scotland amazing? We've been several times but we're going to spend about 6 weeks up there around my birthday because I know those lights can be difficult to catch some times and I'm determined to see them! :-)
      50 is looming fast, Melanie, too fast! I can hardly believe it!

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  4. Melanie, that's amazing! I really want to see that. Is there a certain time of year that it's more visible from Tasmania?

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    1. It goes in eleven year cycles and we're in one now. I think it's easier to see in summer but I'm not sure why. I'll have to ask the family astronomer!

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    2. Hmm, so I really need to hurry up!

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  5. Oh, wow, Melanie! Those pictures are amazing. How wonderful to have seen (and continue to see) them! I'd love to visit Tassie again...maybe we'll try and catch the Southern Lights then.

    As for starry nights. I remember the amazing night skies from my childhood when we went camping on the NSW mid-north coast far from the madding crowds (and city lights). They were magical.

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    1. Camping outdoors is so thrilling for kids, isn't it? Not so much fun for me these days- I'm a glamper now!
      We often stop on night drives in the country and look at the stars once we are away from city lights.

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  6. Sue Gerhardt GriffithsFebruary 1, 2017 at 10:24 AM

    Hi Melanie,

    Last year we visited Canada and Alaska and were lucky enough to see the Northern Lights on our last day in Fairbanks which was also our last day visiting Alaska. We saw it by chance, hubby needed to use the toilet, he decided to look out the window and yelled for me to get out of bed right this minute. It truly was a remarkable sight to see green and orange lights dance and twirl across the midnight sky.
    As for living in Tasmania the cold would kill me. But it's on our 'must see' places to explore. Hubbies cousin visited Tasmania for a few weeks and she froze the entire time and that was in the month of January. Not to pleased about that.

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    1. Hi Sue,
      If you survived Canada and Alaska then you'll survive Tasmania, and yes, even in January! We've just had an awesome spate of warm weather but I have seen plenty of other summers which were a bit disappointing.
      We often see the southern lights by accident but there is now a Facebook alert you can receive which is fabulous.
      Thanks for commenting!

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  7. I have only see the northern lights once, on a night flight coming in to Seattle. They were so pretty. I'd love to see them or the southern lights in person, when I was in Alaska my friends were telling me if you are in a underpopulated area on a very cold night you can almost hear them! That would be really exciting. I like to star watch, but living in Orlando, a big city there is lots of light interference , clouds and fog. The best skies for star watching I have are o a cruise ship, I've been on many cruises, but they never turn off enough lights so you can stargaze~

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    1. Hi Laurie,
      What a pity they turn off the lights on cruise ships... although I guess it could be dangerous! People would be falling overboard. But it would be a brilliant place to see the night sky- the middle of the ocean far from everything.

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  8. Melanie, you are blessed to live in such a beautiful part of the world and I had NO IDEA about the Southern Lights. How spectacular! Obviously I have not seen these nor the Northern Lights, which are on my bucket list. Perhaps I should change this item for the Southern version which is so much closer? For all the stories of wondrous Northern Lights sightings, I've heard as many from travellers on tourist jaunts especially to see the lights only to be disappointed by obstructive weather.

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    1. It is really hard to know if the lights will be visible or not because so much depends on the weather. A sudden bank of cloud can ruin everything!
      You must come to Tassie some time. It is certainly a lot closer than Alaska!

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  9. Those photos are remarkable. So many places to see. I'd love to visit Tasmania. I have seen northern lights one evening in Tucson. The sky was red. No shimmering but red reflections everywhere.

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    1. Hi Laura,
      It's amazing the colours you see when they are showing. The red would have been spectacular. you are most welcome to come and visit Tasmania. You might even get to see a Tasmanian devil!

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  10. Now we really have to visit Tassie, Melanie. Love those photos.

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    1. Oh, yes, Sue! Please come for a visit. I think we are coming to New Zealand later this year. So looking forward to it!

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  11. I live in Southern Ontario, Canada. Apparently the Northern Lights are in Northern Ontario, more than 20 hours north of us. Not happenin'....

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    1. I guess that is a bit far to travel, Laney! I sometimes forget how big Canada is. Amazing! Definitely want to visit before too long.
      Thanks for posting!

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  12. I have had a glimpse of the Southern lights, but would like to view the full effect. I'd love to travel to see the Northern lights one day.

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    1. Hi Mary,
      I hope you get to do that! I thoroughly recommend seeing both if you can.
      Thanks posting- it's always lovely see your name pop up.

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  13. I can't say I've had the opportunity to see either the Northern Lights or Southern Lights, but both are definitely worthwhile enough to go on the bucket list and influence the list of places I'd like to visit.
    I'm sure that there has been occasions that Southern Lights have been visible from NZ but conditions have to be right for that.

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    1. Hi Lyn,
      I'm sure you would be able to see them at times from the South Island. Last Year they were seen in Sydney in Australia which was quite unusual. Thanks for posting!

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  14. Hi Melanie, You're right, Tasmania is the most beautiful placeI
    I would love to see the Northern Lights or the Southern Lights!
    When it comes to starry nights, our little farm in the Blue Mountains NSW has the most mind-boggling starry night skies when it's clear. No street lighting and very few houses. My neck gets sore from looking up and marvelling!

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    1. Hi Kandy,
      I can imagine your farm is just gorgeous. I've seen some of your photos. And I know what you mean about the sore neck from looking up! We often lie in the deck on a sun lounger so we can Astro gaze in comfort.

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  15. I would love to see the Northern or Southern lights, but alas, the sleigh is down a reindeer and current travel restrictions have halted bringing in new stock. Maybe I'll just have to have a glass of chardonnay, curl up on the sofa and watch Joanna Lumley as she travels in the arctic circle to see the Northern Lights.

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    1. Hi Pam,
      Ha ha. Love your sense of humour. Isn't Joanna's show fabulous? I've enjoyed every episode so far.
      Thanks for posting.

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  16. Hello Melanie.
    I unfortunately live in a place where you can not see the northern lights and even a starry sky, as they are surrounded by artificial lights.
    But I'd like to visit Australia and Tasmania, although it will be a pipe dream.

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    1. Hi Franca,
      I hope that pipe dream comes true! What a shame you can't get away from artificial lights. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. Thanks for posting!

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  17. Wow, Melanie, what terrific photos! I'd love to see them but sadly not yet. I was in Tassie at the wrong time of year and they weren't showing in Scotland. Maybe Iceland one day. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi Annie,
      Iceland would be amazing. I want to go and ride the ponies! 🐴 Thanks for popping by.

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  18. I didn't know you could see the southern lights from Tasmania, Melanie. Amazing. I haven't seen the northern or southern lights - would love to.

    I really must be get back down to Tasmania. I have a secret ambition of buy a little stone cottage with a huge fireplace and a glorious garden somewhere in Tas (we just can't grow the lovely things you can down here up here in the sub-tropics).

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    1. Hi Jennifer,
      I can see you living in Tassie. It would suit you very well. We have more creatives per capita than any other state. It must be the climate!

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  19. I lived in Tassie for 18 months. Huge oil heating bills instead of huge aircon bills we have in Queensland. I must be due to head that way again.

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    1. That is the downside, Denise! But worth it as I love a cosy winter night in front of the heater. When you're sick of QLD's heat and humidity come down!

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  20. Coming from Mildura and Red Cliffs and we used go back there and visit my grandparents. The night were amazing because Red Cliffs is a rural area, miles and miles of grapes (not anymore sadly) and Grandfather owned 27 acres of sultana grapes and same thing, very little lighting around, and the night skies were just filled with thousand and thousand of starry bright stars. Miss that part of our life. The house is still there that my grandfather built who was given land while they built the water channels after the war. All the vines are gone like the orange ranges. All gone. Even had a road named after our family. :) Also the Southern Lights have been seen in Hobart around Mt Wellington. Good to know will be keeping an eye out ;) Jan.

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    1. It sounds like your family had a gorgeous place, Jan. It's a shame it's all gone. I grew up on a smallish farm and it is now a golf course! Times change.

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  21. I envy you. Living in an urban area where I do, there is far too much light pollution to enjoy the sky at night. I'd actually never heard of the Southern lights before I came across your post. Mind you I've never been to Tasmania, never even been to Australia. Maybe one fine day I'll make it there!

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    1. I'm so glad you learned something from my post, Paul! Hope you get to make it to Australia as it's a fabulous place to visit.

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