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Archive for August, 2007

Star Tracks, Friday, July 20, 2007 (JRS)

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

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No, not Star Trek.  Being at the South Pole of the Earth can be quite a mind game sometimes.  The passing of days is a bit hard to imagine until you’ve experienced it.  There are a few things that help it sink in that we’re actually at the Pole of the Earth (i.e. the Earth is rotating around us, as opposed to us rotating around on the Earth).  One of these things is watching the start over a long period of time.  Unlike in the ”real world”, where stars journey overhead from one horizon to the other throughout the night, here the stars just continuously circle around our head.  Just by seeing where the stars are, you can figure out what time of day it is.  For instance, when I walk out to ARO in the afternoons, I see Jupiter (the brightest object in the sky) to my right.  The later in the afternoon it is, the further it is to my right.  So, I decided to get a visual representation of this via long-exposure photography.  Ideally, in a 24-hour exposure, each star would make a perfect circle.

Here’s my best Star Track picture, I’ll explain how I got to this point in this blog:

4hours.JPG

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Happy Midwinter, Thursday, June 21, 2007 (LAS)

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

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Something that we never really gave too much thought to back home is the Winter Solstice (or Summer Solstice, for all of you in the Northern Hemisphere).  However, down here, it is quite the big deal.  While you are observing the longest day of the year, our “midnight” was this morning at 0600 and we are now en-route to sunshine.  That means that the sun is about 23.5 degrees below the horizon, and will be making its gradual return until we see it pop above the horizon again in mid-September.

sp-dinner-invitation.jpg   usa_sp-midwinter-greeting.jpg

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Wet T-Shirt Contest, Sat. June 16 (JRS)

Friday, August 17th, 2007

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This evening, we celebrated three birthdays: Katie (cargo), Bruce (mechanic), and Andy (Winter Manager).  There was quite a bit of build-up because it was a surprise for all three.  So, between the preparation, the groups of people responsible for distracting the three birthday-ees, and the group who had been asked to perform a wet T-shirt contest, there was a lot going on.

Katie_Surprise    Bruce_Surprise    Andy_Surprise

(Katie, Bruce, and Andy just after the entered the surprise party - Pictures courtesy of Robert Schwarz, please do not duplicate)

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