Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Sun's Finally Outta Here! Well Sorta...

About 2 and a half weeks ago the sun finally showed us it's purdyness for the last time. Now all we are STILL stuck with is a little light from the sun. I am very bitter about this, i just want that dirty old sun to get outta here! Twoish and a half weeks ago I went out and helped Robert Fuhrman one of the science techs at one of the two vaults he monitors. These are just wood "buildings" so to speak that are now quite buried under the snow. They are considered a confined spaced so require at least two people to be there if someone is going into it so that the second person can stand and watch for any problems outside of the confined space. We took turns doing this so I could go into the vault. Very boring in there as this particular vault just held a 32port router, but still i can say Iwent down in one of the vaults at the south pole.

Not to long after that we had the sun's final hurrah:

It was quite difficult to get any shots that did it justice as usual, particularly the shots I was trying to get of the waves you could see flowing across the sun. Apparently it's the earth's atmosphere that does that, or so Ross with SPT said while we were all looking at it through one of the telescopes. I did take a video of it, though my camera is not quite adept to shooting through a telescope. You can kind of see the waveyness here:

Maybe a couple of days or so after this, not quite two weeks ago we had our first star!!
It looked like a little burnt pixel in the sky :}

Here is my photographic evidence of the star encircled in red because it is doubtful that you can see it. These were taken around 3ish PM:

This is what happens when you forget to turn the flash off and are exhaling around the same time you are taking the photo...I just thought it looked cool

And here is the South Pole's first naked eye visible star, oh it was a good day ;}

Around 7ish Pm or so I think I was able to find the star again and take this shot again encircled in red:

We have a bunch more stars now but it is still quite bright out I can't wait for the sun to get the heck outta here. Also last week I saw my first aurora ever! it was, well it was really kinda lame because we had a full moon which was insanely bright as well as light still from the sun. The good thing is as lame and dull/dim as it was the folks who've worked in Mactown all said that was as good as the auroras ever got there...Oh i can't wait for darkness, new moon here I come!!

During the winter we have to have every window boarded up so no light shows through because the light will screw up the sensitive science experiments we have going on here during the winter. So not only do we have to board up all the windows we also have to make sure any light we have outside is red, flashlights, headlamps, station lights, etc.

One of the unfortunate results of having all the windows boarded up is that the majority of us who work inside don't know when there are auroras or anything else of interest going on outside. To combat this we have folks call over the radios on an all-call that there is an aurora at whatever spot it is located. Thankfully there are a few folks who are always outside at some time or another. I've seen a total of 5ish different auroras thus far.

I got to do snow stakes again last week which was pretty fun doing it out in the dark. Well let me backtrack a bit, the first day I went out it was a disaster I got ticked off and came back in and decided to do it another day. The first time I went out, my goggles froze up right away, when I went to take them off I pulled off my headlamp, the cable on the headlamp was frozen fairly solid so i couldn't get the lamp back on my head it sort of stuck straight out over my shoulder and drooped a bit, not only that the elastic headband somehow got all twisted up as well. Then I was out there in mittens that i have never worn before trying to get all this stuff resituated, not very fun with essentially a thumb and one giant digit. The next day that I went out I was more prepared, I kept the battery pack for the headlamp in my back pants pocket to keep the batteries warm I snaked the cable up through my back so it had my body heat to keep it warm, and went out without goggles. I asked one of the winterovers from last year what they did about goggles after my whole fiasco and he said they just didn't wear them. If you cover up your face so that just your eyes are exposed then it wasn't so bad. He was right, aside from when I was walking in the wind it wasn't all that bad having a part of my face exposed. All in all the second attempt went very well, I fell a couple of times and slid on my back down some stuff but I didn't get hurt so that's a good thing. Even with a headlamp on it's very difficult to walk throughout all the drifted snow, it's amazing just ow the snow drifts. The only bad thing I suppose was that being out there for 2 hours in -80F, -120F windchill is that it really messed with my knees. I found out about a week ago that I have tendinitis in my right knee (from all the jumping in volleyball) so the awkward walking in the snow did not help this.

I hate doctors, well not them personally more that I hate going to the doctors, so for me to go means something is really bothering me. My knees always would hurt after playing volleyball and i didn't really think anything of it because I knew why they were hurting. Constant jumping up and down on a hard surface is not good for the knees especially when you don't warm up at all before hand. But about 3 weeks ago my right knee was hurting to the point that I couldn't put much weight on it when it came to pushing my weight up. I could walk fine but when I had to go up and down stairs I had to use the rails and arms to support most of my weight. Also trying to stand up on something like a chair was impossible. Still I didn't go to the doctors. It was when the weight from my big blue boots was hurting my knee just from walking I decided to go. It's feeling much better now though except for the minor setback of snow stakes.

Oh had my two 1TB hard drives seemingly stolen from my old desk. I left them on the floor at my old cubicle, and when I went to grab them the other day they were gone. And of course no one has any idea what could have happened to them. I suppose it is entirely possible that I was bored one day and decided to hide them from myself, but probably not too likely...I'm really hoping they are just misplaced and that someone didn't actually steal them...Though I'm not hopeful.


Ben said...

You lucky vault-loving so-and-so. It's hard to believe the sun still shines there and it's almost May. I imagine things have changed quite a bit in the last 70ish days since the austral summer staff flew out. I miss you guys and I miss the experience and I can't wait to get back there.

Take it easy on the knees. I know from personal experience that SP volleyball can be brutal... I have a 1 and 1 game to injury record.

Some yahoo probably thought those were USAP drives that you had "claimed" vs. drives you purchased... they're the same model after all.

Just get a claw hammer and run through the station screaming for your hard drives and the problem will be solved.

Slartibartfast said...

So they have a vault full of V-8 because the greenhouse can't make enough tomatoes?