Thirteen people at a remote Antarctic research station have been living without sunlight since May, so imagine their surprise and awe when a brilliant and surreal aurora illuminated the star-filled sky.
Discovery News reports that the accompanying image was captured recently from Concordia Station in the middle of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet.
The outpost is manned by scientists from France and Italy, who are in the midst of a four-month period of darkness and bitter-cold temperatures. But as viewers can tell by the image, only in darkness does the sky truly dazzle.
(Note the research outpost, located directly beneath the aurora.)
Auroras are caused by collisions of charged particles from the magnetosphere or solar winds with atoms in the upper atmosphere. In the Northern Hemisphere this phenomenon is referred to as the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. In the southern hemisphere it's called the Aurora Australis, or Southern Lights.