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.
The United States maintains three research stations in Antarctica. The National Science Foundation's US Antarctic Program (USAP) operates them all. (Date of image: June 2008)
Image credit: Keith Vanderlinde, National Science Foundation