Now that they’re here (they = auroras), we’ll likely see a lot of them. Which is a good thing—no one ever seems to tire of seeing auroras.
There’s a first time for everything, including seeing an aurora waft across the winter sky at the South Pole. And that first came up last week for IceCube’s winterovers John and Yuya.
Although there is still a bit of light from the sun far below the horizon, the skies are dark, and the brightest object in the sky last week was the moon.
Still light outside after the sun has set? Well, it does take a while for the sunlight to completely diminish—the entire process takes weeks, going through several stages of twilight.
Now that the sun has set, indoor leisure activities have taken hold. It turns out the station gym is just big enough for last week’s new sport, wiffle ball.
It finally happened—the lowering sun disappeared below the horizon at the South Pole, leaving everything in dusk.
So, is it a watercolor or a photograph? Well, it is a photograph, but the hazy bands of color in the sky make it definitely reminiscent of a watercolor.
With temperatures around –50 °C (–58 °F) and winds at 15 knots (over 17 mph), there’s no getting around the frosty face look when you’re out walking around at the South Pole.
After the South Pole station closes for the winter, the remaining winter crew has a few short weeks to take care of any outdoor business before the sun sets and leaves them in darkness for months.
A few aircraft stopped at the South Pole last week for refueling. The plane here is a Basler BT-67, flying for the Australian Antarctic Program.