Southern Lights and Ice bergs


By Hannah Dawson

Last night we were lucky enough to see the Southern Lights or the Aurora Australis as it’s otherwise known. A bunch of crew and science members got the wake up call at 1am and headed up to the bridge to see this natural light display. lt was incredibly beautiful and quite magical to be watching it from a ship in the middle of the Southern Ocean with icy Antarctic winds blowing about. To the eye, the lights appeared a whitish colour with a faint green tinge. When photographed, the lights turn up a vivid green colour. The aurora is caused by the interaction of solar winds with the Earth’s magnetosphere. This interaction causes electrons, atoms and molecules in the upper atmosphere to collide, releasing their energy. This release of energy emits light of varying colours. If you’ve ever tried taking a photo of the Southern Lights, you’ll understand how challenging it must be to capture them when you’re on a rolling boat with nothing to stabilise the camera! Nevertheless some of the science party managed to capture the following images. We hope you enjoy.



Photos by Earle Wilson


Photo by Hannah Dawson

The day became even more exciting when the first ice bergs were spotted off to the port side. It’s hard to grasp the scale from the photos but they’re like towering sky scrapers made of pure ice. Even from a distance you could see waves crashing onto the bergs and sending up spray. We’re now less than a day away from our first station and hoping to see many more ice bergs on the way.



Photos by Hannah Dawson

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