Otherworldly Southern Lights Dance Across Dark Antarctic Skies

Otherworldly Southern Lights Dance Across Dark Antarctic Skies

For the past two weeks, the sunspot known as AR12371 has been out spitting fiery plasma and radio bursts, showering the Earth with epic geomagnetic storms. Across the poles, and in some regions deep into mid-latitudes, skywatchers have enjoyed gorgeous views of the aurora.

But few images of the recent space weather are as brooding and otherworldly as this satellite photo of the aurora australis, or the Southern Lights, captured over Antarctica in the wee hours of the morning on June 24th. This time of year, the South Pole experiences nearly 24 hours of darkness, but the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite was still able to detect the dim visible light signals of energetic particles streaming into the atmosphere.

Kinda makes you feel like you're falling into Jupiter's eye. [NASA Earth Observatory]

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