May, 2001
updated: June 12, 2001; 07:00 GMT

VIEW FROM INSIDE OF THE DOME (wait for image to load)

[Photo and panorama assembly by Marc Hellwig]   Place cursor on image and press mouse while moving cursor to move around and also up and down within this 3-D panorama. Use "A" and "Z" to zoom and unzoom.....also,..if you look down far enough you can even see the camera tripod!

The continued darkness as we approach mid-winter is fantastic. The average temperature continues to drop. When the moon is up for its two week period and the skies are clear it is amazingly bright outside, but when the moon is down and there is a wind storm, it can be completely black out making it difficult to get around. The stars and auroras are quite bright now that the twilight is completely gone.    moon through main entrance         inside of dome with ceiling frost building up    under-ice emergency tunnel from skylab        temperature      One day Jami took out a cup of hot water and threw it into the air at -96F. The sound of the instantly freezing spray of water is fantastic. Jami throws water       As mid-winter approaches the ice on the walls in my berthing room is building up.   room ice

When the wind picks up, the temperature usually rises into the -60's or even warmer. This is primarily because of mixing of the surface air with the warmer air higher in the atmosphere (there is a strong temperature inversion layer here) and also because radiation cooling is diminished due to obscured skies. I went out with nurse and heavy equipment operator, Mary, to go to the Atmospheric Research Observatory to pick up some barrels with the caterpillar and take them to the berms for storage. In this environment with the extreme cold, high winds, blowing snow and the darkness it is a difficult task. I took photos and video tape of the trip.    cat at ARO        cat entering the dome          cat coming down entrance ramp        cat near new station       Mary and Jami working in the dome

The wind has been very high for the last 10 days of May. Winds have been in the high 20's and gusting into the 30's (knots). The drifting has been severe and the formation of sastrugi has made walking to ARO, the Dark Sector and Marisat difficult. The back door of my Cusp Laboratory has drifted far more than I have ever observed before. The drift has almost reached the upper door jamb.    my back door     The winds finally subsided in early June and I dug out the door and cut in some steps.    back door dug out

About 7 of us dug out the huge snow drift that formed inside of the main dome entrance as part of our weekly chores. The drift was created by wind blowing snow through the cracks in the door jamb. We had to clear it out in order to open the doors to allow the caterpillars to come in leave food supplies and remove trash that was building up. entrance shovel          entrance shovel 2           shoveling crew (I'm in center with shovel)

I toured the large under-ice utility tunnel that was excavated during the summer. The starts about 10 feet under the ice at the new station and continues for almost 1/3 mile to the new Rod well (water source) site and the sewer outfall near summer camp where the tunnel is about 60 feet below the surface. The winter construction crew has been installing sewer lines and water lines for the new station. The pipes are heavily insulated and contain a heat tracing to keep them from freezing. The tunnel was at -65 F the day that I toured it.   tunnel-1         tunnel-2   tunnel-John      tunnel rats

A birthday cake for Dave..........          cake making

NEXT MONTH..............Mid-Winter......June 21st 



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