The sun has recently set at the South Pole, and the long dark winter there has started. As a result, the sky is now dark enough to see the aurora australis, or southern lights. Hunter Davis, who is working at the South Pole, sent these images this morning and wrote:
Full moon rising today! And first glimpse of the aurora australis after sunset.
The southern lights aren’t seen as often as the northern lights (aurora borealis), but that’s only because the southern part of Earth’s globe is less populated than the north. They’re the same phenomenon as the northern lights, occuring when electrically charged electrons and protons from our sun interact with Earth’s magnetic field. Read more: What causes the aurora borealis?
Bottom line: Photos of the aurora australis, or southern lights, and April 2017’s full moon, as seen from the South Pole.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.