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Aurora Australis over station

<em>Aurora Australis</em> over elevated Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica


Aurora australis ("southern lights") over the elevated Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica.

Like its more familiar counterpart, the aurora borealis, or "northern lights," the aurora australis 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.

In January 2008, the National Science Foundation (NSF) dedicated the new station at the pole, the third since 1956. The new station is larger and much more sophisticated than any previous structure built at the pole, a reflection of the logistical support needed for the ever-increasing range and diversity of the research taking place there. The elevated station contains dorm rooms, laboratories, office space, cafeteria and recreational facilities. To learn all about the new station, see "A Special Report: U.S. South Pole Station." Further information about NSF's United States Antarctic Program is available Here. [Note: Please see special restrictions regarding use of this image, below.] (Date of Image: May 2008)

Credit: Calee Allen

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