Antarctic skies are more varied and beautiful than you imagine

The Beautiful Darkness

I came to Antarctica for the experiences, the adventures and the beauty, and there have been many of each of these and I have made many friends. Arriving in early November, the sun is up, and it is daylight almost all the time. Breathtaking scenery in every direction and my first impression was WOW.

As time passes, the days get shorter, the beautiful scenery that I have become accustomed to slowly disappears with the daylight, and the darkness sets in.

In the middle of winter the sun doesn’t appear. It stays below the horizon, only allowing its glow to illuminate the sky for a few hours a day. It’s neither a sunrise nor a sunset, it is simple sunlight without a visible sun, with its purple, pink and orange hues streaked across the clouds in the sky.

The pristine white icebergs that I had come to love are now a shade of pink and orange and then they are gone, as the darkness sets in again after only a few hours of light.

In the depths of winter, with the darkness all around, you expect to see nothing but a black void, but what you experience is something quite different.

With the absence of light, not only the sun’s light but also the lights of a city, car lights, street lights, lights from industry etc. To see the night sky without any light pollution is incredible. The night sky becomes a kaleidoscope of stars and the Milky Way so prominent.

To compliment the beautiful sky is the aurora australis, or southern lights, which produce spectacular colours of greens, purples and reds that ripple across the sky like transparent curtains of colour. With the stars as its backdrop it truly is one of natures amazing sights.

So, if you find yourself in Antarctica in the middle of winter and it is a cloudless night, look up into the beautiful darkness.

Sacha Helou