Field Notes: The Polar Field Services Newsletter

Aurora Atlantis

An astronaut aboard the space shuttle Atlantis snapped this image of the Aurora Australis flaring against Earth's atmosphere. Image:

Astronauts aboard the space shuttle Atlantis got a light show worthy of the shuttle’s historic last flight a few days ago. As the above shot attests, from the International Space Station the astronauts witnessed the Aurora Australis light up Earth’s skin as solar wind particles danced with charged particles in the upper atmosphere. also has links to pictures of the very same auroral activity taken from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Robert Schwarz, back at the station for his seventh winter, said the activity was some of the best he’d ever seen.

Photographer Robert Schwarz is wintering at South Pole Station. He tends some of the telescope observatories at the South Pole, including SPUD, seen at lower left.

Fans of the aurora should keep their cameras ready, as solar flare activity should send the magnetosphere into a frenzy in the next day or two.–Kip Rithner

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