Polar Astronomy

As of today, the sun is about 9 degrees below the horizon, so the stars are finally starting to come out and auroras are becoming visible. A little bit of sunlight is still spilling over the horizon, allowing you to know where it is and illuminating some of the sky. Over the next couple of…

Neutrinos at the South Pole

One of the largest projects here at the South Pole is the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, which is looking for subatomic particles called neutrinos. It is the largest neutrino observatory in the world, consisting of sensors that are buried in a cubic kilometer of ice.┬áIceCube is looking for neutrinos that were created from exploding stars, gamma…

Sunset!

The sun is finally below the horizon! There is still enough light to see by outside and we expect it to be fully dark in another couple of weeks. Unfortunately, most of the sunset was obscured by clouds, but I was able to take a few photographs during some of the periods with clearer skies….

Closing the Station

Unfortunately, the internet over the last two weeks has been pretty poor, so I have not been able to post. It would appear that everything is fixed and working now, so hopefully it will stay that way. It’s been a pretty busy two weeks for me, so I have not had much time for taking…

The Interplanetary Dust Collector

One of the projects over the summer was to build and install a collector of interstellar dust particles, which is an experiment conducted by the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL), based in Hanover, NH.┬áI featured a photo of the collector building itself, which was constructed on site by our station carpenters and electricians,…

On Our Own!

Because the temperatures here get so cold, aircraft do not fly to the South Pole over the winter, except in cases of emergencies. The last two flights from the NY Air National Guard for the season were this past Wednesday, February 15. The first flight came in the morning and took most of the last…

Quick Update

Temperatures have started to drop fairly rapidly over the last week. I went to bed one night with the temperature at -25F and woke up with outside temperatures of -40F, dropping to -70F once wind chill was accounted for. The last planned LC-130 flight of the season is scheduled for Wednesday, and my boss will…

Fueling and Field Camps

In addition to testing the fuel for contamination, Doug and I help out with the fueling and defueling of aircraft that come through South Pole Station. The station requires a huge amount of fuel to run our large generators, which provide the power for the station and melting snow into water, and our fleet of…

Back at Pole

We were finally able to get back to the South Pole on Monday, after the flights on Saturday were cancelled because of the poor weather. This did provide us with an opportunity to watch the annual softball tournament and catch a glimpse of the USCGC Polar Star, which is an icebreaker used to clear out…

Rest and Relaxation

If you are signed up for a winter at the South Pole, you are allowed to take a week off in McMurdo for some R&R before the winter begins. It allows for a change of scenery before you’re stuck in the station for the next few months, as well as providing a wider variety of…

Seismology at the South Pole

The highlight of this week was our trip to check the cable vaults and level a seismology experiment located about 5 miles away from the station called the South Pole Remote Earth Sensing and Seismological Observatory (SPRESSO), which is part of the USGS network of seismology stations to detect earthquakes around the world. It is…

Christmas, New Years, and the Race Around the World

This past weekend, we celebrated Christmas on Saturday the 24th. Much like Thanksgiving, we had Saturday off and the galley crew cooked us a fantastic meal of beef wellington, lobster, plenty of sides, and desserts from around the world! It was absolutely delicious and we all had a great time. After dinner, there was a…