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Geophysical Monograph Series




Auroral research in Antarctic regions

Norman J. Oliver

Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratories, Bedford, Mass.

Lack of populated land masses suitably located in sub-Antarctic regions has resulted in little scientific data being available to apply to physical and morphological studies of the aurora australis. Since the inauguration of the International Geophysical Year in 1957, through auroral programs initiated by many countries, observations of the aurora australis have been on a continuous and systematic basis. Certain basic programs are being supported through, at least, the next period of minimum solar activity
The location of the south geomagnetic pole and the Antarctic continent itself results in most of the observing stations being located inside or very close to the auroral zone. This factor makes it necessary to examine most of the auroral data in a somewhat different manner than usual if they are to be compared with similar data obtained on the aurora borealis, or with data from outside the zone. In general, most observations of the Northern Lights have been made from outside the zone of maximum occurrence ha America, Europe, and northern Asia. Preliminary conclusions indicate that visual observations made within the auroral zone are influenced by a higher intensity light background than that which exists outside the zone. Black and white all-sky camera records may be similarly affected, suggesting that very highspeed color film might provide valuable information on normally low-contrast auroral forms.
Enhancement of certain background radiations during polar cap absorption events are discussed. The U.S. and U.S. Cooperative patrol spectrograph programs, including method of data presentation and plans for publication in a volume of the IGY Annals are described.

Citation: Oliver, N. J. (1962), Auroral research in Antarctic regions, in Antarctic Research: The Matthew Fontaine Maury Memorial Symposium, Geophys. Monogr. Ser., vol. 7, edited by H. Wexler, M. J. Rubin, and J. E. Caskey Jr., pp. 127–127, AGU, Washington, D. C., doi:10.1029/GM007p0127.

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