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

Image of the watcher web page just before it reached -103 F on July 30th

July was another month that passed very quickly and people are already making plans for their travel after leaving the ice in November. Many people will take advantage of this time and travel around the world. The sun will not be up for 2 more months, September 21st, but we will start seeing a slight bit a twilight in late August. Some people take a break from the perpetual darkness by laying under the grow lamps in the greenhouse. greenhouse "sun" [photo by J. Kietzmann]          I still like the darkness here and will hate to see it go.  This time of the year is when the liquid helium, used to cool some of the telescopes begins to run out    3000 gallon liquid helium dewar being transported [photo by Charlie Kaminski]

There have been many good auroras lately and when the moon is up for its 2 week cycle it is very nice outside.    aurora [time exposure photo by Charlie Kaminski      red aurora [C. Kaminski]           mapo with DASI radio telescope in the moonlight [time exposure by Chris Martin]

As usual we have our fire/trauma drills to keep everyone in practice. fire team members Dave and Paul

On July 28 we had Christmas in July to break up the long winter. Volunteers made a nice dinner.         local hobo      volunteer short order cook, Mike

Finally, on July 30th the temperature dropped below -100 F and actually reached -103 F. This is when you can join the 300 club. Many of us jumped into the sauna in Upper Berthing  in the dome and cranked it up over +200 F and baked until we couldn't stand it anymore.   sauna temperature         Then wearing only shoes and a neck gaiter to minimize lung burn, we ran out of the upper berthing door into the -100 F air inside the dome, ran down the stairs then about 500 ft through the dome and entrance tunnel. At that point everyone's skin was steaming and leaving clouds of vapor as we exited the dome entrance and ran up the steep 30 ft incline up to the Antarctic plateau and then ran about 500 more feet to the geographic south pole. Almost 1/4 mile distance. At that point I still didn't feel too cold, but I had difficulty breathing because of the extremely high apparent altitude (over 11,000 ft) and cold air burning my lungs. I stayed for almost a minute then took off for the dome, now face into the wind. I started to feel the extreme cold by the time I got to the 30 ft slope back down into the arch and back through the dome up the stairs and back into the warmth of the sauna.  300 club patch

NEXT MONTH..............Darkness continues and update on science


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