The Antarctic Files: Part IV

It is now the beginning of September and we are well into the latter half of our winter season. I say ‘winter’ but it might be more appropriate if we called our seasons here ‘light’ and ‘dark’ or maybe ‘cold’ and ‘even colder’. Twice now we have seen the ambient temperature (before wind chill) drop below -100°F. Mid-winter occurred for us on June 22 while those of you back home in the northern hemisphere enjoyed the first day of summer. The occasion was celebrated with a formal dinner followed by some community festivities.

The Antarctic Files: Part III

In late March (on our fall equinox), the Sun finally fell below the horizon. Coinciding with sunset, we were looking forward to seeing an atmospheric effect called a ‘green flash,’ but unfortunately it was overcast at the time. This green flash can be seen elsewhere in the world during sunset or sunrise over a clean, clear horizon (such as over the ocean on a calm, clear day) but can be more prolonged here due to the relative speed of the Sun. However we did distinctly see another atmospheric effect, that of the Earth’s shadow being cast across the sky.

The Antarctic Files: Part II

The final flight of the season left the South Pole on Friday, February 14. The departure of that plane officially marked the end of the summer season here. For winter-overs this is a big milestone in our year—there won’t be another plane arriving for over eight months. We, a group of 41 individuals, are now effectively stranded in the heart of Earth’s coldest, driest continent and the dark of winter is approaching. But much of the work over the past few months has been to prepare us for these conditions, ensuring that we have adequate resources and provisions for the task.

The Antarctic Files: Part I

Hi. My name is Nicholas Papke and I used to volunteer in the Physics Lab at OMSI. I had to take a break from that role because I am spending the year at a faraway place – the South Pole!

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