Courtesy of Hunter.Davis.Photography
Of the multitude of reason one might have for the opportunity to spend a full winter here at the South Pole, seeing what the night sky brings us every day might not be at the top of the list. Yes, it is blisteringly cold and pitch black dark at times. You must also be willing to lose a year from your loved ones, risk the ability to always be able to call, but there are times in life that you need to just step back and look around you.
Courtesy of LTJG Gavin Chensue, NOAA
To the ‘north’ of the elevated station lies the ARO NOAA Lab, run this winter by LTJG Gavin Chensue and Dr. Dave Reibel. The ARO station conducts sensitive atmospheric testing daily, measuring CO2 content, ozone layer, and Oxygen testing just to name a few. The lab is set in the ‘clean air sector’ where the winds the majority of time is blowing from, allowing them to sample from the cleanest air on Earth.
Courtesy LTJG Gavin Chensue
The above shot was taken from our ‘back yard’ of sorts, down wind of the ARO lab. The smoke is the exhaust from our power plant arch, which can still barely be seen underneath the snow drift. Gavin did a great job getting the full moon behind the smoke.
One of the amazing things here are the extreme changes in temperature. On Monday we were sitting at -96f and by Thursday we had climbed to -47f, with today dropping back to -71. A simple change in direction where the wind is blowing and adding overcast conditions can certainly throw a curveball at you. Who knows when we will reach -100f, but it will really be exciting to hit that milestone of a South Pole winter season!