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The air down there

Posted August 23rd, 2016 at 9:19 am (UTC-4)
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To keep an eye on our changing climate, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Global Monitoring Division (GMD) operates six atmospheric baseline observatories around the world. They stretch from high in the Arctic Circle to the South Pole. Each facility collects similar data, and uses near-identical instruments and operating procedures to do so. By standardizing […]

Oxygen on Exoplanet; Smaller Universe; Intergalactic Tan

Posted August 19th, 2016 at 4:15 pm (UTC-4)
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Nearby Exoplanet’s Atmosphere May Contain Oxygen In November 2015, scientists discovered a Venus-like planet that’s only 39 light years away, called Gliese 1132b. The planet is thought to have an atmosphere, despite having a blistering temperature of more than 230° degrees Celsius, since it orbits its red dwarf star from a distance of only 2.25 […]

Black Hole Back Doors?; Io’s Atmosphere; No New Stars in Galaxy Center

Posted August 5th, 2016 at 3:50 pm (UTC-4)
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Do Black Holes Have Back Doors? Most people describe a black hole as a cosmic object with gravity so strong that it sucks in any kind of material that comes close to it. What happens to stuff that is pulled into a black hole? Some scientists think that matter that enters a black hole gets […]

Space Snow Spotted; Frankenstein Galaxy; Fewer Allergies for Thumb Suckers

Posted July 13th, 2016 at 4:00 pm (UTC-4)
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Astronomers Spot Snow Circling New Star For the first time, astronomers have been able to get a glimpse of a water “snowline” in a protoplanetary disk, which is the material surrounding a new star that may later form into planets. This water “snowline” marks the point within these left overs of star formation where the temperature […]

Jupiter’s Auroras; Distant Universe in Detail; Severe Fire Season For Amazon

Posted July 1st, 2016 at 4:00 pm (UTC-4)
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NASA’s Hubble and Juno Probe Study Jupiter’s Auroras As NASA’s probe Juno buzzes closer and closer for its 4th of July rendezvous with Jupiter, astronomers are using the good ole Hubble Space Telescope to study the planet’s auroras, which are just like our own northern and southern lights. These spectacular light shows in the Jovian […]

How to Layer Up to Survive Frigid South Pole Temperatures

Posted June 16th, 2016 at 11:44 am (UTC-4)
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There are few places on earth that are as cold, as dry and as uncomfortable as the South Pole. We rarely see temperatures above 0 Fahrenheit (minus 17 Celsius) during the summer, and it’s not uncommon to have a week of minus 90 F (minus 67 C) during the winter. When you factor wind and […]

One Third of the World’s Population Unable to See Milky Way

Posted June 13th, 2016 at 4:00 pm (UTC-4)
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Among my fondest memories of being a kid back in the 1960’s was taking a week or so of summer vacation to visit relatives at my grandfather’s farm in Herman, PA (about 65 km northeast of Pittsburgh). During my stay I would spend evenings lying on the freshly cut grass of my grandpa’s back yard, just looking up into […]

South Pole Station Gears Up for Busy ‘Nightlife’

Posted April 19th, 2016 at 1:34 pm (UTC-4)
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Dusk gives way to night. The first stars and planets have come out, and all that remains of the sun’s memory is a thin band of blue sky on the horizon. SOUTH POLE JOURNALRefael Klein blogs about his year working and living at the South Pole. Read his earlier posts here. With the skies darkening, experiments at the […]

Isolated and Alone, South Pole Workers Face Unexpected Emergencies

Posted March 29th, 2016 at 3:11 pm (UTC-4)
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From horizon to horizon, in every direction, blue-grey skies descend into a flat, grey, monochromatic landscape that is only disrupted by strong winds and cloud cover. SOUTH POLE JOURNALRefael Klein blogs about his year working and living at the South Pole. Read his earlier posts here. The sun circles at nearly the same height each day, its zenith […]

South Polies Tackle Last-Minute Preps to Survive Brutal Winter

Posted March 23rd, 2016 at 9:14 am (UTC-4)
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The last plane left two weeks ago and everyone is settling into their wintertime roles. SOUTH POLE JOURNALRefael Klein blogs about his year working and living at the South Pole. Read his earlier posts here. Station population sits at 50 and most departments are only a fraction of the size they once were. Although the summer crew left […]