Week 29 at the Pole

Auroras over the South Pole station in the distance, flag flapping in wind in the foreground.
Dennis Perkins, UTMB/NSF

Last week at the Pole was restful—finally. No Polympics or other competitive sporting events, no emergency response training, no outreach talks…and a super-quiet detector. The IceCube detector’s uptime was 99.95%, its maximum value given small downtimes required for maintenance and operation. The night skies on the other hand were not so quiet. A major solar flare flooded the sky with some of the brightest auroras of the season so far. But it was shortlived, only lasting 10 minutes or so. Those lucky enough to have been outside to witness it pronounced it glorious.

Streaky bands of green auroras filling the sky.
Aman Chokshi, SPT/NSF
Long exposure of sky filled with green auroras, with South Pole Dark Sector buildings very small on the horizon.
Aman Chokshi, SPT/NSF