Big Pic: Aurora Light Up Antarctic Night
If the aurora glows over Antarctic and there's no one to see it, does
it have any color? Thanks to a robotic eye in space, we can answer the question. The aurora australis is the southern equivalent of
the aurora borealis. The former, also called the "southern lights," is seen here in unprecedented detail
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On July 15, 2012, the aurora, triggered by a powerful coronal mass ejection launched from the Sun a few days earlier, lit up the ice of Queen Maud Land and the Princess Ragnhild Coast.
The image, though shown in grayscale, was captured with the VIIRS “day-night band,” which sees light from green to near-infrared. The slightly jagged appearance of the auroral
lines is caused the dance of the energetic particles raining down through Earth's magnetosphere, while at the
same time the satellite is moving and the VIIRS sensor is
Full resolution images are available at NASA's Earth Observatory.