Australian Weather Calendar: December 2018

December photograph by Barend Becker

In the centre of Barend Becker's photo is his workplace for most of 2017–the meteorology building at Davis Station, Antarctica. The swathe of green light above it is a space weather phenomenon called 'aurora australis' or the Southern Lights–a common sight in Antarctica but sometimes also visible from Australia. As charged particles from solar flares approach Earth, they are directed by the planet's magnetic field towards the poles. Upon entering the atmosphere, they collide with atoms and trigger light emissions. The patterns and shapes of the aurora are determined by the changing flow of charged particles and the varying magnetic fields.