Week 27 at the Pole

Bright moon with halo in gray sky over gray, barren landscape.
Hrvoje Dujmovic, IceCube/NSF

A barren landscape, the South Pole is actually a desert. It’s not the kind of desert most people imagine, with lots of sand and heat and maybe a camel ambling by. Instead of sand, there’s snow. But almost all of that snow has blown in from more coastal regions of the continent, ushered in from strong katabatic winds. The South Pole environment is often described as otherworldly, and this week’s photos from IceCube’s winterovers—featuring a bright moon casting shadows that reveal the roughness of the windswept surface—exemplify that portrayal.

Flags and antennas dotting the barren South Pole landscape.
Marc Jacquart, IceCube/NSF
Flags flapping in wind at ceremonial South Pole, with a tall tower structure in distance behind them.
Marc Jacquart, IceCube/NSF