Monday, September 14, 2009

Brightness on the Horizon

visual of the day

Temperature: -58.2C
Wind Chill: -77.7C
Wind Speed: 9.7 kts

I don't think there are any stars left in the sky. All we have now is the light from the sun on the horizon. But it sure makes the walk out to ARO a lot easier! This weekend, if you read Cully's blog, we saw around 40 kts of wind. I wound up wandering out to ARO along with Cully, and his pictures show this a lot better than mine do, but there was very limited visibility this past Saturday...

when this is a better day for seeing where you are going!

The sun is really trying to come up down here, but it will still take some time before we actually see it.

A couple weeks ago, we had a situation with our building heater...just that it wouldn't come on! After a little trouble shooting, the problem was discovered. A fan belt broke, and once we got that fixed, the heater was back in business. I suppose if we didn't get the heater fixed, the inside of ARO might have looked like the outside,

I thought about taking a picture the day I write a post, so you all can see what we see, and it bears a striking resemblance to what you can see from the NOAA webcam down here. The sky is bright enough that we have put that back up, and it is transmitting. You might only be able to see still shots, but throughout the summer you should be able to see some activity!

Google: NOAA South Pole Webcam, and you should get taken to it.

Hope everyone continues to have a good year! Take care!

Capt. Splash

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Misc. Duties and Tower Shots

Temperature: -49.7C
Wind Chill: -72.6C
Wind Speed: 18.8 kts

I didn't intend to leave August out of the blog just happened! Sorry folks, I'm not trying to imply nothing note worthy happened all last month. I just didn't get any pictures of anything going on! There were a few final aurora pictures that I will throw in here a little later on.

There are a few things that I do down here that fall outside the realm of my original job description, but they are jobs that I enjoy being a part of. One of them is a monthly maintenance task that was given to our heavy machine operator, Boyd, but that's a thankless task to do alone, so I usually try to make myself available, help him out...dipping fuel tanks.

We do this every month to make sure that the amount of fuel left over matches what we expected. There are five tanks (three on the ground, and two above them) in each bank, and nine banks.

That's a lot of dipping...and that's just in the fuel arch. We have twelve tanks out at the edge of our station, what folks affectionately call "the End of the World".

The last couple months, a couple other winter overs have tackled the fuel arch, and Boyd and I have gone out to get the emergency tanks at the end of the world.

Some of the tanks are the right size to put a measureing stick down inside, get the reading that way. There are five, though, that require a tape to be dropped down inside, which takes a little longer to get the reading. Problem is, if the wind is blowing, any extra time up on those tanks seems like an eternity!

The last couple times we have gone out, though, there have been extra hands, helping write down levels which helps us out tremendously!!

The sunlight is starting to creep over the horizon, and a few days ago was the last opportunity to catch the glow from the sun on one side of the station and the setting moon on the other. I almost missed it, too. I had to get up to the top of our tower, and got half the moon as it was dipping below the horizon.

The Doc, Ella, stitched together some of my panoramic shots into a couple nice images...thanks Ella!!

Some of the shots came out pretty blurry. I had to slip off the mittens to take some of the shots, and the tripod I was using was slipping through the platform at the top of the tower...but I figure for -95F and 20 knot winds, these pictures didn't come out half bad!!

There's more to follow, and I can almost guarantee there will not be as long a stretch until my next posting! Hard to believe that in a couple months from now I will be comfortable in considerably less, this year went by fast!!

With the sun coming up, I am starting to look forward to new folks arriving on station, as well as my next adventure (still need to figure out where and what that will be!), but there is still plenty left to do down here, and I will try to keep everyone up to speed. One of my last shots of ARO, the Milky Way and an aurora...

As promised, I leave you with a couple aurora shots from last month, and the early stages of the sunrise...

Everybody take care, see everybody soon!

Capt. Splash