Week 13 at the Pole

The South Pole station at dusk.
Moreno Baricevic, IceCube/NSF

Ahh…twilight—that magical time when our surroundings seem to soften under the diminishing light of day. At the South Pole, twilight is a lengthy process that can take weeks, with the distant horizon still lit by the slowly setting sun. They’ll begin to see a few stars, and maybe some auroras, before full darkness envelopes the skies.

Last week at the Pole was quiet for the IceCube detector, but not necessarily so for its winterovers. Both Celas and Moreno were slated for dish pit duties, a task all station personnel take on once a month. They also engaged in various hobbies and recreational activities, as the station has set up regular events that include sports, exercise, games, movies, … culture—you name it! How do they keep track of all their weekly events? Looks like old-fashioned paper taped to the wall does a fine job. IceCube’s winterovers also teamed up with another on staff to provide “community cooking” on Sunday, when the kitchen crew are off duty. On the menu were several types of Ukrainian and Russian dumplings, all topped with butter and sour cream. High demand forced the crew into making additional batches. The final image at the bottom is a fancy circular panoramic by a fellow winterover for the South Pole Telescope, showing the waning daylight behind the South Pole Telescope in the foreground, with the IceCube Lab further away in the distance.

Lingering sunlight along the horizon after sunset at the South Pole.
Wenceslas Marie-Sainte, IceCube/NSF
Paper announcements taped to the wall in calendar fashion.
Moreno Baricevic, IceCube/NSF
Three cooks in the South Pole kitchen, posing with arms around each other, with large pots and trays of dumplings next to the stove.
Robin DeLong, ASC
Circular panoramic view of snow and sunset at the South Pole, with South Pole Telescope in the foreground and the IceCube Lab in the distance.
Aman Chokshi, SPT/NSF