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Aurora Australis at South Pole
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Aurora Australis at South Pole

December 6, 2013
Aurora australis ("southern lights") at the South Pole. 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 on Antarctica during the austral winter. The National Science Foundation runs the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP). In addition to maintaining three U.S. research stations on the continent, USAP supports research projects in an array of scientific disciplines, including for example, aeronomy and astrophysics, biology and medicine, geology and geophysics, glaciology, and ocean and climate systems. Outreach, such as the Antarctic Artists and Writers program, and education programs are also supported. For more information about USAP, visit the program's website Here. (Date of Image: June 2008) Credit: Keith Vanderlinde, National Science Foundation