Nice snow drift! Or sastruga, as one might say at the Pole. This enormous snow structure appeared inside the logistics arch, which is a large unheated storage facility, pushed through to the inside through closed doors. That is one strong wind (or one leaky door).
Since it’s nighttime all the time during winter at the South Pole, it can be pretty dark outside, depending on the weather. But with clear conditions, you can get a wondrous night sky. Here we have the IceCube Lab under quite the starry sky, with the Milky Way in clear view and an Iridium flare making a noticeable mark.
Last time it was frosted glasses, now it’s a frosty staircase. Blowing snow during the recent storms has left its mark on the staircase and platforms of the IceCube Lab (ICL). At some point, that snow will need to be removed—but that’s for another day.
The winds kept at it last week. The blowing snow not only obstructs the view when trying to take photos, but it makes it tricky to see the flags that mark your way in this dangerously cold landscape. The weather did clear at one point, though, long enough to capture some amazing shots of the Milky Way.
A quiet week at the Pole for the detector, but he photos were just striking! Here we have a nice shot of the ceremonial pole marker, with a bright moon situated just behind the sphere and flags flapping in the wind.
Even in winter, you can get an impressive halo—here it’s the moon. Halos are caused by light interacting with ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere, and these circular halos, which can form around the sun or the moon, are called 22-degree halos. They’re fairly common, seen more frequently than rainbows.
Last week was fairly relaxed at the Pole. Some testing and troubleshooting with the detector, but all went rather smoothly. As for the skies? They were glowing. And swirling, and shimmering. The auroras sometimes swirl into shapes suggesting all kinds of things.
Each winter, once it gets dark enough, the station covers up all of its windows to prevent light from interfering with light-sensitive projects at the South Pole. This year they decided to have a contest for the window cover art entries.
Didn’t we say the sun had set already? We did. But that doesn’t mean the sky goes absolutely dark right away. It’s a slow sunset, with light lingering even after the sun has dipped below the horizon. This image shows a great twilight shot of a clear sky with some color along the horizon and the IceCube Lab in the distance.
Who needs the sun when you have a moon like this! This image shows the moon hanging low above the Dark Sector, home to the South Pole Telescope, shown here, in addition to the IceCube Lab, BICEP, and MAPO.