Aurora australis, Antarctica

Aurora australis, Antarctica

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Credit: KARIM AGABI/EURELIOS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Aurora australis or southern lights display over telescope equipment in Antarctica. Auroral displays are caused by interactions between energetic charged particles from the Sun and gas atoms and molecules about 100 kilometres up in the upper atmosphere. A stream of charged particles (the solar wind) flows out into space continuously from the Sun at speeds of 400-500 kilometres per second. On reaching Earth, the charged particles are drawn by Earth's magnetic field to the poles, where they collide with the gas atoms and molecules, causing them to emit light. Photographed at Concordia Station, an Antarctic research station built in 2005.

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Keywords: 2005, 21st century, antarctic, antarctica, astronomical, astronomy, astrophysical, astrophysics, atmospheric phenomenon, aurora, aurora australis, concordia station, earth's atmosphere, electromagnetic effect, equipment, light, meteorological, meteorology, nature, observatory, research base, solar weather, southern lights, space weather, telescope, weather

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