This is the Aurora Australis, or Southern Lights over Antarctica. It was taken in the southern winter, when Antarctica is shrouded in darkness. The earth is surrounded by a magnetic field, which is created deep inside the earth’s core. Magnetic field lines surround the earth and stretch far into space to create the earth’s magnetosphere. Without the magnetosphere the atmosphere will be stripped away by the solar wind. The magnetosphere deflects the majority of charged particles away from the atmosphere. Some charged particles follow the magnetic field lines and hit the atmosphere at the north and south pole. As this radiation hits the atmosphere it ionises the gas and causes it to glow. The colour of the aurora depends on which type of atom is ionised and the altitude. it can be red, violet, green.. The aurora is called the Aurora Borealis at the North pole and the Aurora Australis at the south pole.