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Chronicles from Concordia

Teardrop from Heaven: Aurora Australis

18 Jul 2012, 19:05 UTC
Teardrop from Heaven: Aurora Australis
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We may have been the last folk to see the Aurora in Antarctica, but when it came, it was unforgettable.
Aurora Australis seen from Concordia Station 18 July 2012 Credit: ESA/A. Kumar
Incredible displays of coloured light, termed Aurora, are produced by collisions, when electrically charged particles travelling from the sun impact with charged particles in the atmosphere, as they enter the atmosphere. Fluctuations in Sunspot activity create a solar wind - bringing the particle to Earth.
Aurora can be different colours - ranging from pink to red to green to blue. In fact, the different colours are caused by the involvement of different gas particles, and depend on their altitude of impact.
Aurora occur in the Northern (Aurora Borealis) and Southern Hemispheres (Aurora Australis).
Aurora Australis: Over the Southern Lights between Antarctic and Australia seen from the ISS, March 2012. Credit: ESA/NASA/André Kuipers
The reasons why they occur in the polar regions in greater intensity is due to the relative weakness in the magnetic field over the poles. Normally a magnetic field would deflect the particles and so being unable to deflect the particles, more particles enter in the polar regions.
A raw display of one of nature's most ...

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