Week 25 at the Pole
It’s the middle of winter at the South Pole, and not only is it dark outside, but there are restrictions in place to keep it as dark as possible (exterior lights limited to a red spectrum, to reduce interference) for the benefit of research projects that rely on the dark night sky. Last week, however, restrictions were lifted for the arrival of a plane—a rare occurrence at the Pole in winter, only undertaken in a strict emergency. The photo above is a view from the roof of the station showing the 8000-foot-long skiway after it was lit up. Actually, the long exposure makes the scene appear much brighter than it actually was—the following (dark) photo is closer to how it looked to an observer. Happily, the medical evacuation took place without a hitch. Left behind were special treats picked up by the plane at a pit stop at Rothera Research Station, whose staff didn’t miss the opportunity of sending some rare midwinter treats, fresh fruit and baked goods, to their isolated neighbors at the Pole.