Striking images of the Aurora Australis, the atmospheric phenomenon
known familiarly as the Southern Lights, are available from the
National Science Foundation (NSF). Like its more familiar counterpart,
the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, the phenomenon is caused by
the solar wind passing through the upper atmosphere. But the Aurora
Australis is much less frequently observed because so few people
live in Antarctica during the austral winter.

Jonathan Berry, who is wintering at NSF’s Amundsen-Scott South Pole
Station, took the photos this month against the backdrop of the
months-long polar night. NSF operates the only scientific station at
the South Pole and conducts astrophysical research there. NSF also
is currently rebuilding and modernizing the station in a logistically
difficult, multiyear operation.

The images of the Aurora and of the full moon were taken over one
wing of the new station and the existing geodesic dome at the South

For more about what makes the South Pole a unique observatory, see:

The digital images are available as jpegs at a resolution of 300 dpi.
They should be credited, if published, to Jonathan Berry / National
Science Foundation.

[NOTE: These images are available at ]