Showing Archived Posts

Exoplanet Bonanza; Good Sleep = Less Stress; Help Find Planet 9

Posted February 23rd, 2017 at 4:25 pm (UTC-4)
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7 Earth-Like Planets Found Orbiting Single Star Scientists using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope have found the largest group of earth-like planets circling a single star. A total of seven planets were observed orbiting TRAPPIST-1, a star located only about 40 light years from Earth. The discovery also set a record for the number of planets that were […]

New blood: The South Pole replacement crew arrives

Posted October 31st, 2016 at 4:16 pm (UTC-4)
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After a week of high winds, blowing snow and general pea-soup conditions, the weather cleared. The sun emerged from its temporary hibernation in a fortress of grey steely clouds, and our ice-crusted visibility markers slowly thawed under an uninterrupted bombardment of photons, screaming through the sky like kamikaze pilots in search of martyrdom. Our miraculous […]

A Runway Run

Posted October 18th, 2016 at 10:09 am (UTC-4)
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The first planes of the season arrived two day ago — a Twin Otter and a Basler — two small aircraft en route to McMurdo. They came, stayed just long enough to refuel, see the sites, and grab a bite to eat. Then they left. Over 200 hours had been put into the skiway to […]

Another summer day at the bottom of the world

Posted October 5th, 2016 at 2:30 pm (UTC-4)
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It’s a cold, clear day outside. The sky is a cloudless light blue, uniform in color and shade from horizon to horizon. The ice cap stretches out beneath it, and apart from its icy whiteness, is a mirror image of its heavenly twin. Today, the sun sits slightly higher in the sky then it did […]

The Sun has Risen

Posted September 27th, 2016 at 4:08 pm (UTC-4)
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The sun sits two fingers above the horizon. It is obscured by fine, white, icy clouds, but you can still make out its circular shape—dimming and brightening with each gust of wind and slight fluctuation in temperature. Pulsing, blinking, fluttering, stuttering, it jabbers away in a Polar Morse code. Transfixed, I stand in the middle […]

Spring at the South Pole

Posted September 20th, 2016 at 11:21 am (UTC-4)
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It is springtime at the South Pole. The sun sits low on the horizon and bathes the landscape in rich hues of yellow and orange. Light bounces off each imperfection in the Polar Plateau, each wrinkle of snow and pinnacle of ice is set aglow. It transforms the ice cap from frozen desert to an […]

Signs of summer at the South Pole

Posted September 12th, 2016 at 1:20 pm (UTC-4)
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The sun has started to spiral upwards.  It now sits less than six degrees below the horizon—civil twilight on the Antarctic plateau.  Earth meets sky, in a rapture of orange, yellow and red, a chorus of bright hues that fades into what remains of the polar night. A few stars and planets are still visible […]

Artistry Under the Ice

Posted August 29th, 2016 at 12:04 pm (UTC-4)
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Deep within Amundsen-Scott South Pole station lies the entrance to the ice tunnels– a serpentine network of narrow passages and catacombs carved deep beneath the frozen polar plateau. Starting from just outside the station’s power plant, they run for nearly a kilometer at a gently descending grade until they reach their terminus 24 meters below […]

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 […]

Clean-up Day at the South Pole

Posted August 9th, 2016 at 12:05 pm (UTC-4)
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You’d be surprised how much mess 50 people in a large research station can create. Here at the South Pole, where it takes six months for the sun to rise, it only takes two days for a 30 gallon (113 liter) trashcan in the bathroom to be stuffed to the brim and overflowing with used […]