IceCube’s winterovers just sat down to take in the view after finishing up some outdoor IceAct snow accumulation measurements. It was a view worth sitting down for. But for a relatively quiet week at the Pole, they still found themselves with plenty to do.
The extreme environment of the South Pole poses numerous challenges for those who work there, especially during the winter. One difficulty is simply dealing with things that break. You can’t just order a replacement online.
It’s not the first aurora of the season, but it is the first one to be captured on camera by IceCube winterover Kathrin—a pretty, swirling aurora along the horizon, with a bright moon illuminating the icy surface from above.
The sky was still bright enough last week to take a photo of an ozone balloon launch, the first one to send up a special plastic balloon in the hopes of a better survival as it ascends in the cold atmosphere.
There’s still just a bit of sunlight lingering, as seen in the image at top—what’s not so easily discernible in the image are the stars, but the winterovers report having seen them for the first time in months.
Although the sun has set and winter has begun, it takes a while before it actually gets dark at the South Pole. Twilight is a prolonged process there, lasting weeks. Here there’s still plenty of daylight to see the station as it starts to look nice and frosty without direct sunlight.
The sun is getting lower and lower, and the folks at the South Pole station continue to get everything ready for winter. The winds were strong last week, on some days making it hard to distinguish ground from sky.