May 1912: Aurora Australis

–from Douglas Mawson’s account “The Home of the Blizzard“–

“While the wind rushed by at a maddening pace and stars flashed like jewels in a black sky, a glow of pale yellow light overspread the north-east horizon–the aurora polaris.  A streak of dark cloud was often visible below the light which brightened and diffused till it curved as a  low arc across the sky.  It was eerie to watch the contour of the arc break, die away into a delicate pallor and re-illumine in a travelling riband.  Soon a long ray, then a row of vertical streamers ran out from the arc, probing upwards onto the outer darkness.  The streamers waxed and waned, died away to be replaced, and then faded into starlight.  The arc lost its radiance, divided into patchy fragments, and all was dark once more.”


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