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.
Although the sky is not yet dark, auroras appeared for the first time this austral winter. It was a good thing the detector ran well this week, because the winterovers were excited to experiment photographing the colorful night sky.
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.
At the South Pole, you never know whether the skies will be clear enough to capture a nice image of that last flicker before the sun goes below the horizon. Last week a big storm rolled in that threatened things, but it cleared in time for the winterovers to capture some great photos and bid the sun adieu for a while.
Last week was stormy at the Pole, according to IceCube’s winterovers. Guess that’s where these icy blotches stuck to the window came from. The detector was relatively quiet, but there was plenty of other activity to keep the winterovers busy.