A Margaret River photographer went to great lengths to capture a rare geomagnetic aurora at the coast earlier this week. Alice Love took a series of stunning snaps of the aurora formation over Gas Bay that entailed staying up all of Sunday night to track the brightening phenomenon. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology in partnership with the Australian Space Weather Forecasting System said the light show was uncommon, but could usually be forecast 48 hours in advance when the sun ejected plasma wrapped in a magnetic field. “They (alerts) will only be issued in response to a significant solar coronal mass ejection or coronal hole likely to be geo-effective,” ASWFS said. “Aurora alerts will follow if favourable space weather activity actually occurs.” The aurora was visible over the Capes region only a few times per year, and Love said she was always keen to test her photographic skills when the chance arose. “Capturing the aurora australis on the night of November 5 to 6 was an absolutely breathtaking experience — a night I will always remember,” Love told the Times. “I received alerts on Sunday afternoon that a strong aurora would be visible, and there was so much cloud in the sky, but I went anyway. “My first hour in the dark was much like many other nights that I have spent aurora chasing – nothing but grey, but I had hope that conditions would shift in my favour.” By late Sunday night, the photographer – who normally photographs the surf and storm formation and sells fine-art prints of her work as well as running workshops – said she was only “teased” with a few hints of red and green in the night sky. “I continued to wait patiently for the clouds to shift, and it wasn’t until two hours later that I was mightily rewarded for my patience,” she said. “From 11pm until around 2am, vibrant beams danced across the sky as I stood alone at Gas Bay, gazing up to the sky in awe of how beautiful this place is. “I have been photographing the Margaret River region for seven years now, and this by far was my most memorable night.” Bureau space weather forecast Dr Tom Grace said the aurora was taken in across lower parts of WA, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania – all locations closer to the magnetic South Pole. “It seems like WA had a really good night for it,” Dr Grace said. “The fewer the clouds and the darker the night, it enables a nice view.” The Earth was moving towards the “solar maximum” peak of the 11-year solar cycle, meaning geomagnetic storms created by plasma ejections would be more common during the next two years, the forecaster said. The Bureau had a subscription-based alerts system for those wanting notice of the aurora australis and its future appearances, Dr Grace said. While Love was happy to share one of her images with the Times, a full spread capturing the evolution of the geomagnetic aurora was available on her www.mymargaretriver.com website. For more of Love’s work, check out @mymargaretriver on Instagram or Facebook.