Last week’s photos from the Pole were full of blue and green. The first visible auroras were out, and they appeared as bright green swaths and swirls against a blue sky. A bright full moon and Jupiter as a tiny speck also made appearances.
Another amazing week at the Pole—not only was the detector performing well but the twilight photographs continued to be stunning. IceCube winterover Martin captured another great time-lapse shot of a NOAA weather balloon launch along with some striking images of the station and the IceCube Lab.
The sun has set, they’ve held their traditional sunset dinner, and yet … it’s still light outside. Well, that’s twilight. Even after the sun falls below the horizon, the scattering of light in the upper atmosphere illuminates the lower atmosphere and the Earth’s surface.
This photo at sunset is a picture that paints a thousand words, reminding us that the South Pole is technically a desert. The windswept snow forms into sastrugi, or sharp, irregular grooves and ridges on the hard snow surface. They can create interesting shapes and take on strange appearances, sometimes looking a bit like waves crashing to shore.
Pull up a chair—sunset at the South Pole takes weeks, not hours. And why is that? Because the Earth’s rotational axis is tilted, the poles gradually proceed from full exposure to full shadow (and back again) as the Earth travels around the sun.
It was rather overcast last week. In fact, in this photo of the IceCube Lab (ICL), it’s almost hard to tell where the snowy landscape ends and the cloudy sky begins. This view of the ICL is from the vantage point of the geographic South Pole.
A clear sky last week showed off some faint sun dogs around a bright sun. Clear skies also made for fine flying conditions—the last flights to leave the Pole took off last week. The station is officially closed for the season.