Information, Resources and fun facts about Antarctica for our future explorers.

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What is an Aurora?

An Aurora is a natural display of coloured light in the night sky, usually of greenish colour but sometimes red or blue, that occurs mostly in high latitudes (near the north and south poles). These beautiful and mysterious lights have fascinated humans for thousands of years

The effect is known as the aurora Australis (the Southern Lights) in the southern hemisphere or the aurora borealis (the Northern Lights) in the Northern hemisphere. The aurora is often seen as "curtains" of folding light constantly changing shape.

How are auroras made?

Auroras are linked to the solar winds that flow past Earth. These winds flow out from the Sun and contain plasma particles (ionized gas) which get pulled into the Earth's magnetic fields near the north and south poles. As they accelerate towards the Earth, collisions occur between these ion particles and nitrogen and oxygen atoms in our atmosphere, releasing energy in the form of amazing aurora lights.

Auroras throughout time

Descriptions of the lights are found in writings and folklore of many cultures across history. In some traditions, the lights were revered as spirits of the dead or as a positive omen, while in other cultures they were feared as a sign of impending disaster.

More information

Visit Aurora Service for latest news, aurora forecasts and southern lights information.

Listen to the below audio file for more information about auroras: