University of Wisconsin-Madison

Week 18 at the Pole

Christian Krueger, IceCube/NSF
Christian Krueger, IceCube/NSF

The bad news—sometimes detector problems arise (power failures, dropped DOMs) that require a trip to the IceCube Lab, or ICL. That means that IceCube’s winterovers first have to gear up, no simple feat, and then hike out to the ICL, which is about a kilometer or so from the station, to troubleshoot and fix the issues. The good news—sometimes the sky treats them to extraspecial aurora displays on these treks, making the journey a bit more colorful if nothing else. A case in point from last week is shown in the following photo—it seems the entire sky is ablaze with auroras. You can pick out the stars more easily in the photo above, which shows the path through the Dark Sector, bright enough from the auroras to make out the flag line for quite a ways into the distance. It’s a different story when there are no auroras or bright moon to illuminate things.

Christian Krueger, IceCube/NSF
Christian Krueger, IceCube/NSF
Mack van Rossem, IceCube/NSF
Mack van Rossem, IceCube/NSF