The skies over Antarctica have recently turned a spectacular pink color, likely due to aerosols released into the atmosphere by an undersea volcano eruption since the start of the year.
“Believe it or not, I haven’t altered those colors either, they’re pretty much as we saw them,” Shaw said, according to The Guardian. “It’s incredible.”
The strange color is formed by particles in the atmosphere that can travel great distances and for long periods after a volcano explodes.
“Stratospheric aerosols can circulate around the world for months after a volcanic eruption, scattering and bending light as the sun dips or rises below the horizon, creating a glow in the sky with hues of pink, blue, purple and purple,” he said.
The institute tracked aerosols over Scott Station on July 7 and found they were abundant in the sky, as shown in the graph below.
Aerosols from volcanic eruptions can linger in the sky for about two years, during which time they spread and virtually cover the globe, according to NASA. They reflect sunlight back into space, creating strange colors.
The peculiar color of the sky seen at dusk is known as “afterglow” and is quite common after a volcanic eruption, according to New Zealand experts.
The color and intensity depend on “the amount of haze and cloudiness along the path of light reaching the stratosphere,” their press release says.