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.
It takes a long time for the sun to set at the South Pole. Maybe just as well for last week. It allowed IceCube’s winterovers to continue taking outdoor photographs of the landscape, and it gave them some light to see what they were doing while out in the field, driving around and measuring the snow height at all the IceTop stations.
The fuel arch under the station is one of the coldest—and creepiest—places at the Pole, accessed from a network of underground ice tunnels. The tunnels maintain an even temperature of around -50 °C at all times.
A quiet week at the Pole. And when the quiet stems from a well-behaved detector, there’s nothing to complain about. IceCube winterover Johannes and others took advantage of the remaining daylight to get in some Frisbee while they still can.
That’s it—the South Pole station is officially closed for the season. The few remaining summer people have departed on the last plane out, which brought to the Pole a nice supply of “freshies,” as they like to refer to their perishable produce.
It was a busy week at the Pole. There are always lots of preparations to be made before hunkering down for the many months of isolation and darkness. With the busy airfield, IceCube winterover Raffaela was out helping park a Herc.