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Aurora australis and star trails

Aurora australis and star trails

C011/6408

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Credit

ALEX CHERNEY, TERRASTRO.COM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ALEX CHERNEY, TERRASTRO.COM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Aurora australis and star trails, over the Southern Ocean. The aurora (on horizon) is a coloured light display visible in the night sky at high latitudes. It occurs when charged particles from the Sun are drawn by Earth's magnetic field to the polar regions. Hundreds of kilometres up, they collide with gas atoms and molecules, causing them to emit light. Star trails are formed by the apparent motion of the stars in the sky as the Earth rotates on its axis. Here, the circles centre on the south celestial pole. Photographed on 22 January 2012, near Flinders, on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia.

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