University of Wisconsin-Madison

Week 11 at the Pole

NSF/D. Larsen
NSF/D. Larsen

So many images from last week … where to begin? The IceCube winterovers captured quite a few shots of the sun as it continued to set. Looks like they also built an igloo. The setting sun is a big deal at the Pole, as it happens only once a year. Following tradition, the annual sunset dinner was held last week and enjoyed by all. There was also the annual flag ceremony that accompanies taking down the flags at the ceremonial South Pole, the site of many photo opportunities, for winter storage.

Finally, some of the images prompt a vocabulary quiz: the last two photos show rare physical phenomena, even for the South Pole. In the first, we have a kind of snowball, formed of frost and found only on the Antarctic plateau during weak winds. These fine snowballs trail across the surface like little tumbleweeds. (We’ve seen them before.) In the last photo, there appears to be a wall stretching fully across the horizon, but there is nothing there. It’s a mirage—a “superior” mirage, appearing above the horizon instead of below it—and it has a name. Any takers? (Answers: 1, 2)

NSF/D. Larsen
NSF/D. Larsen
NSF/D. Larsen
NSF/D. Larsen
NSF/D. Larsen
NSF/D. Larsen
NSF/D. Larsen
NSF/D. Larsen
NSF/D. Larsen
NSF/D. Larsen
NSF/D. Larsen
NSF/D. Larsen
NSF/D. Larsen
NSF/D. Larsen
NSF/D. Larsen
NSF/D. Larsen
NSF/D. Larsen
NSF/D. Larsen