University of Wisconsin-Madison

Week 24 at the Pole

Stephan Richter, IceCube/NSF
Stephan Richter, IceCube/NSF

If you blur your vision slightly, the green tablecloth might be mistaken as grass and the entire scene as one of a summertime outdoor picnic. But it’s still winter at the South Pole—midwinter to be precise, one of several milestones they traditionally celebrate with a special dinner (looks good) and other activities to mark the day [1] [2] [3]. President Obama sent midwinter greetings, which were read aloud by the station manager to the dinner assembly.

With midwinter here, they know their days of utter darkness are numbered. Until the sun returns, though, the night sky continues to entertain, here with an almost vertical spume of aurora and the Milky Way appearing as a large fissure in the sky overhead.

Stephan Richter, IceCube/NSF
Stephan Richter, IceCube/NSF
Stephan Richter, IceCube/NSF
Stephan Richter, IceCube/NSF
Stephan Richter, IceCube/NSF
Stephan Richter, IceCube/NSF
Stephan Richter, IceCube/NSF
Stephan Richter, IceCube/NSF