Antarctic Sky Light Show
If and when you take your cruise or voyage to Antarctica or Sub Antarctica you will most likely come across a spectacular natural sky light show. The Southern Auroras or Aurora Australis are a spectacular exhibit of one of natures wonders. Scientifically speaking there is no mystery in this phenomenon, however to experience them is a mysteriously awesome sight.
Auroras a Natural Phenomenon
Auroras are mainly seen at the Arctic North Pole and Antarctic South Pole (Aurora Borealis – North Pole) and (Aurora Australis – South Pole). The reason for this is that the earth’s magnetic fields are most active and intense at the poles, the lights are a result of the solar particles striking the earth’s magnetic field
Auroras are the only sign of what is happening in the Earth’s upper atmosphere visible to the naked eye from the ground. They occur when particles streaming out from the Sun (solar wind) enter the atmosphere near the poles after being deflected by the Earth’s magnetic field, striking molecules and atoms in the high atmosphere, causing them to glow in different colours like neon tubes.
Disturbances on the Sun, like Solar Flares, can cause storms in the Earth’s magnetic field, intensifying the auroras and make them expand out beyond the polar regions. At times, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere they can be seen quite a distance from the magnetic North Pole, equally but not a usual Auroras can be seen as far north in the southern hemisphere as Tasmania and Chile.
Photographing Auroras in Antarctica
This photo was taken on a clear and calm night in Sub Antarctica (quite a rare event at Macquarie Island), with a full moon, after a couple of days of snow. The Auroras at Macca are quite spectacular ranging in colour from purple to green and everything in between. This one is a relatively mild one, but it’s the best I managed to photograph!
If you are planning a voyage or cruise to Antarctica or Sub Antarctica don’t forget to pack a tripod, to photograph an Aurora you will definitely need a tripod for the long exposure time required to capture the Antarctic lights.
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