August, 2001
updated: September 3, 2001; 02:00 GMT

The Dome and Skylab in silhouette against the emerging twilight of late August as the September 22 sunrise approaches. [photo by Chris Martin]

It is hard to believe that twilight is already reappearing. I am sad to see the beauty of the darkness disappear, but the next 3 weeks will be spectacular as sunrise gets closer.   twilight at -100 degrees F      August and September are usually the coldest months and we are seeing temperatures of -100 F (-73 C).   the watcher just before the temperature dropped to -106.8 F in early August     This is the time of the year when some people start dreaming about having the dome surf side in Hawaii .  Meanwhile, I was just interested in selecting a parka that had a hood that matched my hair color . As it gets lighter and lighter out, we will be starting the station tasking necessary to prepare the station for opening and the first flight in late October. We have to return everything to pre-winter locations, re-install the radar reflecting skiway flags ( about two miles in each direction), get the aircraft skiway dragged and smooth, install the fueling hoses and pumps, dig out building and doorways that have drifted as much as 10 feet high, and many more tasks. In addition, my regular science work load will increase as reports, updated operating procedures and preparation for my replacement begins. One recurring task is digging out the cusp back door which has slowly dropped to about 30 feet below the surface of the Antarctic plateau over the past 26 years. This last blow really socked it in and I'm now digging.   door drift from inside      door drift from outside        you can barely see the top of the door under the fire escape, second floor

My projects have been running reasonably well with one or two hardware of software failures per week that I must deal with along with the regular daily tasks. I assembled a few photographs of the project hardware that I am responsible for, from inside the laboratories and outside where the sensors are. The outdoor photos were taken last summer in bright sunshine. Locations were measured with a handheld GPS unit in November , 2000 and are in (degrees-minutes). The ice moves towards grid northwest almost 10 meters per year. The outdoor photographs were taken last summer when the sun was up. For more information on the science at Pole, see the Introduction page of this web site.

Cusp Lab: First Floor of skylab    skylab        me standing in front of electronics racks 1 through 6       racks      desk, computer and yellow brains
racks 1 and 2:
                          low frequency magnetometer (Lucent/Bell Labs)
                                         magnetometer vault, dome in the background (89-59.757' S, 100-14' E)
                          high frequency magnetometer (University of New Hampshire)
                                        micropulsation magnetometer vault buried under ice (89-59.757 S, 104-20.0' E)
                          phased imaging riometer data acquisition computer and display (University of Maryland, UMD)
                                       imaging riometer antenna (buried under ice) and top of electronics vault (89-59.432' S, 111-40.0 E)
                          VLF/whistler radio Beta recorders, calibration electronics and receiver (Stanford University)
                                       VLF antenna about 3/4 mile from the dome, more than half buried in ice (89-59.432 S, 98-05.0' E)

racks 3 and 4 :
                           VLF digital broadband computer and A/D electronics (Stanford)
                           VLF electronics and time code generator (Stanford)
                            broadbeam riometer data acquisition computer and display (UMD)
                                      20.5 MHz antenna             30 MHz antenna               38.2 Mhz antenna
                                      51.4 MHz antenna, buried (89-59.483'S, 89-13.0'E)       electronics vault
                            University of Maryland data acquisition interface
                            imaging riometer sensor electronics and heaters (UMD)

Racks 5 and 6:
                            UMD primary data collection computer
                            UMD/University of Delaware Cosray data interface
                            UMD broadbeam riometer sensor electronics and heaters
                            LF/MF/HF radio receiver data acquisition computer (Dartmouth College)
                                            LF/MF/HF antenna (89-59.453' S, 94-27.3' E) ; station about 3/5 mile in the background
                            AstroMed 8 channel strip chart recorder (UMD)
                            UMD patch panel

Cosray Laboratory: Second Floor of Skylab
                    University of Delaware/Bartol Research Institute Cosmic Ray/Neutron Detector data acquisition rack and computers
                                     outdoor shielded boron trifluoride detectors      view to grid West

                    USGS/Global Positioning Satellite South Pole Reference Station receivers and data acquisition computer
                                     GPS antenna with dome removed on the roof of skylab

Ultraviolet spectroradiometer and atmospheric nitric oxide detector: Second Floor of the Atmospheric Research Observatory
                     Ultraviolet spectroradiometer (Biospherical Instruments, Inc)
                                     UV radiometer installed in the penthouse at ARO
                     Nitric oxide detector (Georgia Tech)

USGS Global Seismograph Station at South Pole, science building
                            Andrea,  Aurora Science Technician,  is responsible for the U.S.G.S seismograph and many other experiments.
                            She works in the skylab aurora laboratory, 4th floor, and at the radar facility near the Marisat antenna facility
                                     Andrea climbing down the seismic vault last summer
                            She often enters the vault, 30 feet beneath the surface to perform seismograph calibrations and repairs
                                (see the December web page for more vault photos )

Many people are pulling out their cameras to take photographs outside as the twilight gets brighter and brighter. Here are a few of the many taken and developed by NSF science representative, Chris Martin.
heavily drifted garage arches          radio telescopes in the dark sector           dome entrance
elevated dormitory                         marisat satellite dish                                flag lines
power plant and plume                   new station at twilight

NEXT MONTH..............Sunrise


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