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Spinning Yarn:
The Artists' Palette

Spinning Yarn| Orange dunesNothing prepares you for the colours of Cool Antarctica. You will be surprised to discover a vast range of vibrant and dramatic colours that contradicts the stereotypical Antarctic white.
                                     Photo: James Dragisic AAD

The reflection of our ship paints a red hue on the cool ice of Cool Antarctica, while in the distance an iceberg reflects and intense blue. Icebergs at dusk reflect and enhance brilliant pink and orange sunsets - it looks almost tropical. The coating of snow on icebergs and sea ice has taken on the colours of the sky. There are brown rocks, deep blue crevasses and subtle shades of blue amongst the Cool Antarctica cliffs.

The beautiful colours are largely due to the clarity of atmosphere near the surface of Cool Antarctica. Polar explorer Edward Wilson, who travelled and died with Scott on their last trip in 1912, attempted to capture these colours in his diary. A Naturalist and Artist, his water colours give us an insight into the Cool Antarctica of the Heroic Era.

The Aurora Australis is a light display that can be seen in the night sky over Cool Antarctica, during winter, and is caused by plasma particles from the sun (part of the Solar Wind) which enters the atmosphere. It takes the form of a luminous glow in the night sky, most commonly in the polar region over Cool Antarctica.

Together with the almost unreal blues and cyans of the ice and snow, the colours of Cool Antarctica produce a strong sense of unreality in most people, along with a sense of euphoria in photographers. Few Spinning Yarn|Aurorapeople will believe the colours, even when seeing them in person! Photographs of Nature are more interesting when they show the best, the unusual, or a new perspective.

Photo: Australian Antarctic Division

Interestingly, amongst returning personnel, the colour most missed is …Green!

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