23 February 2021: Night of auroras

This night, the sea is quite quiet. In transit in the southernmost sector of the ocean section, we head towards station 57 (56°24 S – 78°23 E). I (Catherine) fill the logbook, in a soft night routine. Around 2 am, Manu arrives at the PC. “Did you see how clear the night is? It’s an aurora australis weather”. He doesn’t think he can predict it so well! Barely ten minutes later, Christophe arrives in his turn “auroras, auroras!”.

The tranquility of the ship was suddenly disturbed. Hats, jackets, gloves quickly put on, everyone who doesn’t sleep on board finds himself outside in the cold wind. Very quickly followed by those who tear themselves away from their bed. For my part (Hélène), I am woken up three times in the space of a minute: “eh, there are aurora australis”, I get out of my bed, and I walk, fast, very fast, even faster, outside. Unbelievable but true. For two hours, the white, green volutes, with slightly red edges, are created, fly, intensify and disappear. Seeing the sky dance is particularly euphoric. On the upper bridge, cries of joy and hugs. We are all excited like kids, happy, for most of us it is our first aurora. Excitement, emotion. Auroras are difficult to photograph… too bad, but we will never forget them!

Aurora Australis @Corentin Clerc

Authors: Catherine Jeandel (CNRS, LEGOS, Toulouse) et Hélène Planquette (CNRS, LEMAR, Brest)

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