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The Kid Should See This

Aurora Australis in the polar night sky

As of 2018, astrophysicist Robert Schwarz has spent eight winters in a row at the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station, 14 in total, where he works as a Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) observatory operator and technician. In the winter of 2014, he filmed the polar night sky, capturing the southern lights as they rippled across the planet’s atmosphere. South Pole | Night in Antarctica was edited by Martin Heck of Timestorm Films. From the video:

The South Pole is one of the coldest, driest and harshest places on earth. The Aurora Australis can be seen together with the core of the milky way only here in Antarctica. Temperatures below -70°C/-95°F during the polar night are not uncommon. Together with strong winds and exceptional aridity, this is one of the hardest places to shoot time lapse in. Special equipment has been constructed and modified to keep the cameras running.

auroras as seen from south pole station
auroras as seen from south pole station
auroras as seen from south pole station
Plus, some related science from this week in The New York Times:

Earth has two magnetic poles, a north and a south, much in the same way a bar magnet does. From these two poles, bunched up magnetic field lines — invisible tendrils that represent the direction and strength of this planetary bar magnet — reach out into space as the planet travels on its orbit. Like fishing lines, they catch energetically excitable particles heading our way in the solar wind. These particles slam into our atmosphere, and energy is released in the form of the colorful auroras.

As these two geographically opposed magnetic poles are reflections of each other, it was once assumed that the auroras would be the same too. However, scientists can now see more clearly that they not only have large-scale differences in shapes, but they crop up at slightly different locations around the magnetic poles too.

Watch more videos in Antarctica and the auroras, including how the Aurora Borealis is created and Science and Survival on Continent 7: Antarctica.

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