As midwinter quickly approaches, and the vast majority of the 46 of us wintering over are near or passed our halfway marks, this crew has done a great job sticking together with nearly no real stress. Even those at the home office in Denver have remarked on how well this season has been going. The above picture is a pantographic by Hunter taken from the road going to ARO, looking up at the ‘beer can’ and A1 pod to the left, where my room is , and the galley on the right. Some of these pictures with longer exposures allow you to see colors that otherwise you could not with the naked eye.
This view of the backside of the dome in the backyard best demonstrates how the camera shows what is hard for us to see. Most auroras we look at are primarily green, with the occasional pink to be seen. The red lights from the elevated station can be seen in the lower right corner.
Temperatures have been hovering in the -90f range for a few days now, and many of us are hoping for it to get colder, so we can hit the -100f point. There have been winters where this has not been hit, and we hope we don’t get included into that group! With the temps being so low, no equipment can be run except in an emergency situation, and this includes the elevator in the vertical tower. This means we will be daisy chaining the food pull for the second time this winter. Everyone shows up in full ECW (Extreme cold weather gear), takes a spot on one of the 92 steps, and we hand all the food up from the LO (logistics arch) that will supply the kitchen for that week. -70f is the coldest we will run the elevator, and we have been lucky in those regards thus far to having only had to do this twice.
So, as we continue the Hunter show, the above aurora storm set on the back drop of the Milky Way is one of the better shots he has taken this season. On Saturday, all of us on ERT Team 2 (fire brigade) got together in the gym for team photos, and we got Hunter to do the honors, as he is also a member. Our plan is to make a 12 month 2018 calendar, possibly as a gag, but we shall see! It was a fun hour, and we look forward to the results! I will try to snag some of the pics to post on here.
This coming Sunday we will be holding the traditional mid-winter dinner. This has been happening on continent since the days of Shakelton, Scott, and Amundsen. The summer solstice, as it is referred to in our home the northern hemisphere, marks the darkest day of winter here in Antarctica, and signals that the darkness will be gone in about2 or so months. We all look forward to this day, with sunrise dinner being the last of our special meals this winter prior to station open in late October.
Another backyard shot, this of RF. You can tell our winds have been fairly light to this point, as the drifts and susturgi are very mild for being June. We are currently in full moon, and this really hampers our ability for aurora visuals and great views of the Milky Way, but does make walking outside very nice, as you actually create a shadow. I’m hoping to have mid-winter meal pics and fire team pics soon! Stay warm in the north!