University of Wisconsin-Madison

IceCube Current News

Week 13 at the Pole

Week 13 at the Pole

The IceCube Laboratory (ICL) is home to a computer complex that collects and processes data from the experiment’s optical sensors buried in the ice.


Week 12 at the Pole

Week 12 at the Pole

The darkness of night tells us that we’re in the Earth’s shadow. But who thinks about the Earth’s shadow during the day? Actually, it’s often visible but we fail to recognize it.



Week 11 at the Pole

Week 11 at the Pole

So many images from last week … where to begin? The IceCube winterovers captured quite a few shots of the sun as it continues to set. Looks like they also built an igloo.


Week 10 at the Pole

Week 10 at the Pole

Surprise, surprise—a little creature snuck in to the South Pole station, presumably in the last fresh food shipment. “Dustin” the moth was found fluttering around the lab.


Week 9 at the Pole

Week 9 at the Pole

It’s a small community wintering over at the South Pole—they help each other out. When not immediately involved in their detector duties, IceCube’s winterovers might be found volunteering their assistance with other scientific projects.


DPG awards Hertha Sponer Prize to Anne Schukraft

DPG awards Hertha Sponer Prize to Anne Schukraft

Former IceCube PhD student Anne Schukraft is being honored today by the German Physical Society, or Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG), for her contribution to the measurement of the neutrino energy spectrum.


Week 8 at the Pole

Week 8 at the Pole

What is this? And where would you find it at the South Pole station? It might remind UW–Madison folks of the “What are you looking at?” feature in Inside UW–Madison, a weekly newsletter that periodically spotlights a cropped photo for which readers can guess the campus location.


Week 7 at the Pole

Week 7 at the Pole

At the South Pole, apparently there’s “cold” and then there’s “really cold.” IceCube winterover Dag’s frosted visage tells you he’s in cold country, but his open coat perhaps gives away that it’s not yet “really cold.”


The end of the 10th IceCube polar season

The end of the 10th IceCube polar season

Expectations were high for this past season. The largest upgrade to IceCube’s hardware and software was completed on schedule. The new servers and readout computer upgrades brought new equipment to the Pole but also new opportunities for the scientists of the IceCube Collaboration, spread in a dozen of countries around the world.




Week 6 at the Pole

Week 6 at the Pole

It’s not dark yet, but the temperatures have been dropping. They’re back to being lower than they are in the Midwest, as it should be, unlike last month where some record low temperatures created days where the South Pole was a relatively warm place.


Nathan Whitehorn a 2014 'Young Star' in astrophysics

Nathan Whitehorn a 2014 'Young Star' in astrophysics

Nathan Whitehorn, a postdoctoral researcher on the IceCube project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has been named a “Young Star” by the Division of Astrophysics of the American Physical Society (APS).


Week 5 at the Pole

Week 5 at the Pole

The South Pole station is gearing up for its seasonal closing. There are still flights coming and going—the plane above is shown offloading fuel supplies—but they will eventually end as the season closes and weather becomes inhospitable to aircraft.


IceCube sets new limits for non-relativistic magnetic monopoles

IceCube sets new limits for non-relativistic magnetic monopoles

In a new paper submitted to The European Physical Journal C, the IceCube Collaboration presents a search for non-relativistic (slow) magnetic monopoles that, despite being fruitless, has set the best experimental limits for a wide range of assumed speeds and catalysis cross sections.


Week 4 at the Pole

Week 4 at the Pole

IceCube winterover Ian Rees was invited to fly around in a Twin Otter and photograph South Pole buildings from above. Here’s a nice aerial shot that he took of the ICL (IceCube Lab). You can clearly see the shadow of the aircraft as they passed by.


Week 3 at the Pole

Week 3 at the Pole

Signs are everywhere. When you’re lost or unsure about which way to go, a sign with an arrow can be very helpful.


Week 2 at the Pole

Week 2 at the Pole

A weird-looking contraption hanging from a frame, three kneeling people huddled on the ground, a tank-treaded vehicle in the distance, and snow as far as the eye can see. What’s going on here?


IceCube 2013 in brief

IceCube 2013 in brief

2013 was, no doubt, a great year for IceCube. Scientific results reached a crescendo with a beautiful IceCube neutrino event gracing the cover of Science magazine on November 21. It was also the year that Prof. Olga Botner, of Uppsala University, was elected IceCube spokesperson, following Prof. Greg Sullivan from the University of Maryland. Also, four new institutions joined the IceCube Collaboration. And, last but not least, the NSF review committee resoundingly approved the collaboration´s efforts.


Week 1 at the Pole

Week 1 at the Pole

What’s new at the Pole? Well, some new people are there—it’s still summer, so groups of people are still coming and going.


Week 53 at the Pole

Week 53 at the Pole

Out with the old, in with the new. This might pertain to many things as one year changes to the next, but at the South Pole it also applies to the South Pole marker, which indicates the spot of the geographic South Pole.


Week 52 at the Pole

Week 52 at the Pole

The Race Around the World, an approximately two-mile course at the South Pole, is one that some folks take seriously, with planning and preparations aimed at bringing them across the finish line first. After all, the prize, an extralong shower, is something anyone living at the South Pole station would covet, as shower time is rationed there.


IceCube looks to the future with PINGU

IceCube looks to the future with PINGU

PINGU, the Precision IceCube Next Generation Upgrade, proposes a extension inside the current IceCube array designed to measure the mass of the three known neutrino types.


Week 51 at the Pole

Week 51 at the Pole

The summer season isn’t long at the South Pole, from about late October through early February. Folks typically arrive in shifts, spending a few weeks, give or take, working at the Pole. But delays are common, whether coming or going—and when they happen around the holidays it can be all the more frustrating.


Week 50 at the Pole

Week 50 at the Pole

It was a week filled with movement outdoors. First up, snow needed to be moved. A survey was done of snow depths over the IceTop stations, and excess snow was removed. You can see the IceCube crew in the snowcat, or “pisten bully,” (above) while out on their rounds.


Week 49 at the Pole

Week 49 at the Pole

It looks like IceCube winterover Ian Rees is practicing a good luge position, but he’s just taking advantage of his perch to capture photos. He’s lying atop some boxes bearing new equipment as part of an extensive server upgrade. This photo gives the sense of peace and quiet, but they’re moving and the flags are up, so with a little effort you might imagine there to be some wind noise.


IceCube awarded the 2013 Breakthrough of the Year

IceCube awarded the 2013 Breakthrough of the Year

The IceCube project has been awarded the 2013 Breakthrough of the Year by the British magazine Physics World. The Antarctic observatory has been selected for making the first observation of cosmic neutrinos, but also for overcoming the many challenges of creating and operating a colossal detector deep under the ice at the South Pole.


Neutrino telescope shines light on the last glaciation

Neutrino telescope shines light on the last glaciation

In a paper recently published in the Journal of Glaciology, the IceCube Collaboration presents a study of South Pole climate over the past 100,000 years, using high-resolution 3D laser images of the ice sheet.


Week 48 at the Pole

Week 48 at the Pole

That’s IceCube winterover Ian Rees (facing) near the drill while it’s being prepared to access a rod well, which is a deep cavity used to melt ice for drinking water. Rod wells are named after Paul Rodriguez, an Army engineer who developed them while at Camp Century in Greenland in the early 1960s.