The 4th of July is now behind us, but this view of the South Pole station continues with the red, white, and blue theme, while the other side of the station just shows the blue sky and the white snow. These image were only possible due to a bright moon, bright enough to illuminate the tracks in the snow surface.
The recent stretch of bad weather finally broke, showing off some nice auroras. Here, you can make out a bright spot in the sky, which is Mars, soon to reach its closest approach to Earth in many years.
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.