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Stauchy Blog » Blog Archive » The Land of the Setting Sun - Tues March 20 (JRS)

The Land of the Setting Sun - Tues March 20 (JRS)

We’ve been living in a world of sunlight for 4 months. The last sunset that we saw was in McMurdo, when the sun would swoop just below the mountains for about an hour a day, back in October. My shadow has been getting longer and longer during my daily walk out to the ARO building. I’ve been taking my time on the walk as the colors of sunset have begun to show on the horizon, and the landscape has transformed in to a myriad of light and shadow. The sun sets only once a year here at the South Pole, and I want to take the time to enjoy it. It’s so weird to see the sun setting.  For more, higher-res pictures, see the gallery: South Pole Sunset.

070314_2.jpg 073021-22_217.jpgBut more than that, it’s weird that it’s so weird. When’s the last time that you said, “Hmmm, the sun is setting… that’s so weird.” It’s just one of the many things that make this place so unique. It’s actually hard to imaging going back to “The Real World” and having both day and night every 24 hours.The feelings that I get when I’m outside are intense. It’s mostly a magical feeling, given by a place where the sun circles around the horizon, transforming the look of the landscape and buildings on its trek. But it’s also a feeling of peacefulness that comes with watching a sunset mixed with an uncomfortable feeling caused by the long winter night that is looming on the opposite horizon.

During my daily walks, I’ll find myself just standing there, looking in all directions. Towards the sun, where the oranges are starting to appear, and away from the sun, where dusk is beginning to show itself.

The sastrugi (snow formations caused by the wind), which are really the only thing that could be considered geological features here, have always been interesting to look at. But now, with the shadows getting longer and more distinct, they’ve become much more striking. I carry our nice camera with me every day because it always seems like there’s something new to take a picture of. It’s truly beautiful.

070320_46.jpg 073021-22_229.jpg 073021-22_235.jpg 073021-22_241.jpg 070323_102.jpg -JRS


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3 Responses to “The Land of the Setting Sun - Tues March 20 (JRS)”

  1. Tholo Says:

    Great pictures! I really like the one of the flag reflected in the mirrored ball. Is that dent from when you dropped the turkey on the pole? I haven’t checked your photo page yet, but I hope there are more photos up or forthcoming. We should be seeing pics of the aurora australis soon, I hope!

    Now that the sun going down, you’ll have to get your sunlight indirectly from the moon. As Parmenides is said to have written, “…always gazing at the rays of the sun. …night-shining, wandering about the earth, another’s light.” (Hey, don’t begrudge me the chance to quote some obscure Greek philosopher!) You never mention the moon, I assume it is visible down there, is there anything odd about the moon seen from the South Pole? Is it upside-down? I would guess that it would be.

  2. Payot Says:

    Your best entry yet. Kudos.

  3. stauchy Says:

    Thanks, Payot, even though I’m sure you’re being sarcastic… I appreciate it anyway!

    Tholo, I’m glad you like the pictures. The photo album is even further behind than the blog, so there aren’t any sunset pictures up there yet, but there will be. I took tons and tons, so I just have to narrow it down a bit. We started to see aurora this past week or so, so those pictures will be coming soon too.

    Nice obscure Greek quote, I like it! I’ll be posting a blog about the moon fairly soon (hopefully today). But, to answer your questions briefly, we see the moon for two weeks at a time, and yes, it apears upside down, but I don’t really notice that. Same goes for the stars. The stars are mostly ones we don’t see in the States, but down on the horizon, we can see some that you’d see on the horizon as well, e.g. the belt of Orion, except that here, his head is burried in the snow!

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