This week at Davis we're enjoying the best auroras of the year and visiting the Sørsdal Glacier.

Station update

Hello from Davis!

A few things have been happening to catch you up on:

Planning for the airdrop is ramping up with the site thoroughly drilled and now marked. Recovery teams, weight limits and retrieval plans are being organised. Wildlife has been notified to avoid the designated area!

The weekend of the 9th saw multiple trips out to sightsee around the Sørsdal Glacier. Saturday had blue skies and clear weather giving great views, while Sunday’s ominous weather made for deep blues in the icebergs and threatening skies in photos.

That station continues to clear snow; championed by Tony, the deck has been recovered! We have light flooding back into the dining room again. A final attempt at a snow cave/bar is underway but it is a race between the weather and the clearing crews.

The physical sciences (real sciences) have been getting a work out; between the ozone hole (currently over us), some amazing auroras, and a happy dose of solar radiation on Sunday, Davis is the place to be!

Biologically (the other science), the first summer bird was spotted last week (southern fulmar). Sadly no pictures were taken. Giant petrels have been seen around but I have been informed that these don’t count as they are just angry seagulls, and never leave. A few people have also seen a Weddell seal or two.

I feel I can’t really speak for the football, but things are getting tense of station, particularly after a recent Richmond vs. Geelong game as well as a West Coast vs. Port Adelaide game.

Ralph (Doctor)

Amazing auroras

Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are huge explosions of the magnetic field and plasma from the Sun’s corona. When CMEs impact the Earth’s magnetosphere, they are responsible for geomagnetic storms and enhanced aurora (Space Weather Prediction Centre — NOAA).

On September the 6th (last Wednesday) there was a huge CME (Solar Flare). It was the most powerful such event since 2006.

'The burst of radiation was so intense, it caused high-frequency radio blackouts’ (National Geographic). This is despite the sun heading towards a minimum level in activity in its natural eleven year cycle.

The bonus for us, particularly at high latitudes was an intense aurora as the CME interacted with the Earths Magnetosphere. This happened at Davis on the morning of the Friday the 8th and seemed to be strongest between 4:30am and sunrise at around 7:30am.

I was up and outside at 5:15am to witness and take some photos of this event. Despite there being a full moon and a brightening sky with the approach of sunrise, the aurora was strong enough to be highly visible.

Barry B1 (Met Senior Observer)