Saturday, January 28, 2012

Ladies Night at the South Pole Telescope

Last Friday night, all ladies on station were personally invited to come enjoy Ladies Night at the South Pole Telescope. Not only was this a good ploy to get all the women to leave station as well as the rest of the men behind, it was also a fun way to share information about the science being done here and to give us a chance to tour the telescope up close.

As for the science of it all, SPT is a 10 meter telescope looking at the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) that was left over from the Big Bang. The South Pole is a prime location for this type of satellite since it is the driest place on Earth making for better observation of microwave frequencies. Despite what conspiracy theorists say, the SPT is not tracking the supposed Nibiru but is instead observing the origins of our still expanding universe, discovering galaxies along the way.

Though there was a shuttle, some ladies decided to enjoy a nice walk out to the telescope

Polies of the male variety also made the journey

Where sci-fi gets real

My favorite cosmologist, Brad, giving us a tour

Cogs and equations...what else

The telescope as seen from underneath after the retractable ceiling had been opened

No South Pole party, even one influenced by science, is complete without a little bit of dancing

Parking an LC-130

Last week, thanks to my friend, fellow Polie and beloved fuelie, Molly, I had the amazing opportunity to help marshal in an LC-130 Hercules aircraft. The repeated arm movements to tell the pilot to come forward were similar to doing the 'Y' and the 'M' of the YMCA dance until it finally came time to take my arms in a full circle to signal them to stop. It was fun experience that left me on a natural high for the rest of the day.

Coordinating signals: the person on the left watches the plane and I watch the person on the left
(photo courtesy of Rhiannon)

Swooping my arms in a circle to tell the plane to stop
(photo courtesy of Rhiannon)

It was a surreal experience to have this thing coming straight at me

Plane successfully parked and cargo and fuel getting offloaded
Orange suit optional...I just love it
(photo courtesy of Rhiannon)

Yes, yes they do. Not only are they cool and fun, fuelies are responsible for offloading all the AN8 jet fuel that powers the station

Monday, January 16, 2012

Centennial of Robert F Scott's South Pole Arrival

100 years ago today, Robert F Scott arrived at the South Pole, struggling to hang on, only to realize Amundsen had reached the Pole first, beating him by a month. This picture is of Scott & his men at the South Pole, taken by using a piece of string to operate the camera. All 5 perished months later on their return journey with only 11 miles left to go to reach their food cache, some say partially of a broken heart. Tonight we'll have a small ceremony to honor these men and their bravery and achievements. They paved the way for those of us here today.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

South Pole Barn Dance

On Friday night, 2 ingenious Polies, my friends Jase and Kiell, hosted a barn dance in the South Pole gym. They got a live band together and taught us many dances that left us all winded and smiling. It was probably one of my favorite nights this season and I appreciate all the effort these two put into the event on a week night, when everyone here (including Jase and Kiell) is perpetually tired from working 6 days a week, 9-10 hours a day.

This is one of the first dances we did, a Greek dance called the Miserlou. I loved it!

These talented folks kept us moving with their awesome playing

We waltzed, we polka-ed and many more

Line dancing was a blur!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!!

2012 is upon us and the South Pole brought in the New Year in style. We had 4 awesome live bands (made up of super talented members of the South Pole community) that performed on New Years Eve until well past midnight, giving all on station a chance to dance the night away. Then on New Years day we had the traditional pole marker moving ceremony. Since the South Pole is located on an ice sheet that moves 30+ feet per year, the marker gets repositioned back to exactly 90° South every January 1st. It was definitely a New Years to remember and I feel fortunate to be here!

Loved the brassy sound of this band

This threesome (a scientist, a greenhouse tech and an IT geek by day) rocked the house with their high energy music

Katie drilling the hole at the actual South Pole for the new pole marker

The unveiling of the new marker, designed and created by last season's winterovers

A huddle of Polies watching the ceremony

The new pole marker's design was heavily influenced by the centennial with this side about Amundsen

And this side regarding Scott

And finally, a very cool look from above