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Stauchy Blog » Blog Archive » The Pole Moved! - Monday, Jan. 1 (LAS)

The Pole Moved! - Monday, Jan. 1 (LAS)

It’s a New Years tradition at the South Pole to move the location of the Pole marker to reflect the actual location of the South Pole of the Earth. Each year, the ice shift by about 10 meters, so each year, the pole marker, which moves with the ice, needs to be moved to accommodate for this shift. With the move of the Pole, a new marker is placed atop the new location. It is designed by a winter-over person from the season before and the winter crew votes on the winning entry. For high resolution pictures, see the gallery: New Years at the Pole
After a late night last night and no early morning festivities, we opted to sleep in….and sleep in we did until about noon. We got up and did our usual brunch, which never gets old (it’s sooo good!). In the early evening, we were responsible to perform one of the power plant watches, which involves going down to the power plant and walking around with a laptop, noting pressure, temperature, and other monitoring values of some of the critical equipment. It was a good experience for us, because the process of learning how to do the watch helped us better understand the power plant.

After that, it was just about time to head out to the Pole for the Pole Moving Ceremony. Several posts had been placed by the surveying crew in order to guide the Pole movers as to where the new pole should be placed. The ceremony started with a few words from Jerry Marty, the head of NSF here at the Pole. Jim and Roger, two IT crew members moved the sign that follows the geographic pole. Jesse, one of our older veterans, and also an IT crew member, moved the US flag that follows the geographic pole. Finally, Steve, one f the PMs for the 10M, our newest scientific endeavor at the Pole, gave some words on his views of the season, the importance of the telescope, the season, and all the contributors as we head into the 50th season. He then unveiled the new marker. BK gave a few words about the design and then handed it over to Leisl who read the designer’s interpretation of the new marker:
2007 Pole Marker Artist’s Description: This season will mark the 50th Anniversary of the United States conducting scientific research at the South Pole and the International Geophysical Year (IGY). I wanted to submit a design reflecting these momentous facts and also recognize the special people who have made the research possible. The words 50 years of science and IGY surround an etched continent signifying the peaceful and cooperative purpose of this station along with other research outposts within the Antarctic Treaty area. The research done on this continent has helped humanity achieve a better understanding of our planet and universe. Thousands of people have come from all over the globe to help support this effort over the last 50 years. Many of them give up a year or more of their lives to support the research done in this remote and inhospitable location. I wanted to recognize all of these individuals and their contributions and give a special thanks to the 64 people who have chosen to be here this winter. The dimples on each side of the design, 16 on each side, represent the 64 winter-overs contributing to the 50th winter of science and support at the Pole, 2006. These dimples will catch the light as the sun rotates around the sky and will hopefully create some nice reflections in the brass. The South Pole is the only place where every direction is north and is represented by the points around the circle. The continent design is etched into the center circle so snow will accumulate there and provide a contrast for pictures. I am honored that my fellow winter-overs have chosen my design to represent the Geographic South Pole marker for the year 2007, and I look forward to seeing the design take shape. Clayton Cornia, RPSC Electrician 2006 newyearsday03_blog.jpg newyearsday09_blog.jpg newyearsday10_blog.jpg newyearsday15_blog.jpg newyearsday20_blog.jpg
With that, the ceremony ended and we each took turns checking out the new design. The guys from the British Royal Navy were still here and posed for pics upon request from various folks. Jason and I took a bunch of pics with the new pole, which is now very close to the ceremonial pole. We were a big hit with our “goofy” pictures. We took a couple of pics laying on the ground between the 2 poles to show the close proximity they are to each other. Unless they ever move the ceremonial pole, the geographic and ceremonial poles will never be this close together again. We even got one of our friends, Eustacia, in the picture goofiness.newyearsday28_blog.jpg newyearsday29_blog.jpg newyearsday36_blog.jpg newyearsday39_blog.jpg dscn4382_blog.jpg dscn4381_blog.JPG dscn4379_blog.JPG dscn4378_blog.JPG dscn4371_blog.JPG
Tonight was pub night in the galley – we went and contributed nothing to our group. We did get a few beer for being in a group with folks up on their current events, so it wasn’t all lost.
The British Royal navy guys pulled out from station today to begin their trek home.

-LAS

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4 Responses to “The Pole Moved! - Monday, Jan. 1 (LAS)”

  1. Tholo Says:

    So this raises the question, “If every direction is north, how do you find your way around?” I only mean that half tongue-in-cheek. Do you refer to longitude lines? Do you have a big pole with arrows that says, “Los Angeles, 8000 miles”, etc.? Do you just point and say, “that way”? Is there a certain direction that is “north” for you? Toward home?

    And, since the sun circles in the sky without setting, does it seem strange to see the sun in certain parts of the sky?

    When do you guys go dark?

    So many questions….

  2. stauchy Says:

    Good questions. You’re correct… we use longitude lines and what we call a “grid” system. Grid North is in the direction of the prime meridan (0 deg longitude). So, East is towards 90 deg longitude, etc. Ironically enough, the planes fly more-or-less grid South to get to McMurdo.

    There is a sign in the “passenger terminal” that has distances to certain places, but I forget now what it says.

    We’ve pretty much gotten used to the sun just circling around overhead. It still takes us somewhat by surprise when we walk outside (from a party, of course) late at night. It is pretty cool, though, to look at where the sun is in the sky and read it like a watch.

    I’m not sure when it will get “dark”. “Sunset” will be sometime around March 22, which is fall equinox. But, from what we’ve heard, the sunset lasts for weeks. I can’t wait to see it!

    Keep the questions coming!

  3. Tholo Says:

    At noon, in what direction is the sun?

  4. stauchy Says:

    That’s a good question. I looked last night at midnight, and it was just about Grid North (along the Prime Meridian), so at noon, it would be Grid South.

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