August, 2005....J. Dana Hrubes...updated August 31, 2005 , 0900 GMT

The low temperature for August, 2005: -110.7 F (-79.3 C) , only a few degrees above the
freezing point of carbon dioxide at this elevation

August at the Pole - Cold and a Glimpse of the Light of Dawn

August is historically the coldest month and also the month when we begin to see a bit of the light of dawn, although sunrise is not until about September 21. Our low temperature for the month was -110.7 F which is a new low temperature record for myself. Even at these temperatures, I still had my 2-1/2 mile walk to the science sites, and it was actually quite comfortable wearing only my Carhart jacket instead of my big red parka, because the winds were low. I was hoping to break the all time Pole record of -117.0 F, which is just around the freezing point of carbon dioxide at this altitude.  By mid-month we were just starting to see a hint of twilight and in the third photo, near the end of the month, the brightness was increasing.   dawn light-1    dawn light-2    dawn light-3    

As many of you know, Venus and Jupiter converged in the sky at the end of August. At the pole, Venus was to the left and below Jupiter as it converged. This is the opposite that observed in the Northern Hemisphere, because we are observing the two planets from the bottom of the world.

August 21st: Venus rises ( to the right of the Scott tent) and is converging with
Jupiter (just above the geographic pole sign and to the left of the new South Pole station)

Venus will approach Jupiter within less than 2 degrees on September 1.       Venus-Jupiter, August 26th  over the new elevated station        Venus-Jupiter, August 29th to the right of the SETI optical telescope        Venus-Jupiter, August 30th to the right of the new elevated station     

The last two week period of moonlight in total darkness was during august and an unusual display of a cross caused by the moonlight through airborne ice crystals was created. Photographs of this event don't accurately represent the scene, because in order to properly expose the cross, the moon, itself was over exposed, resulting in a diamond shaped moon.      moon cross - 1         moon cross - 2         The moon was just past full when it set this month.    moon set       

Some of the last visible aurora of the season were photographed this month. On August 24th, two coronal mass ejections (CME) from the sun struck the Earth's magnetosphere at about 0740 GMT and 1000 GMT.      plot of magnetic field fluctuations and auroral light emission           These CMEs resulted in some of the most awesome auroras of the season with an abundance of red and violet light.   CME aurora-1      CME aurora-2      CME aurora-3       CME aurora-4       

The auroral display produced by the CME on August 24 was photographed by the station physician,
Dr. Christian Otto, using a fisheye lens

More photos by Dr. Otto:           august 24 aurora - 2         august 24 aurora - 2        august 24 aurora - 2     

There were numerous other beautiful auroras this month.      aurora-1    aurora-2   aurora-3    aurora-4     aurora-5    aurora-6    aurora-7    aurora-8     

Also, a few self portraits with auroras:        at new station "beer can"         climbing the SETI telescope tower      at the SETI telescope tower     at under-ice tunnel escape hatch   

And finally, Robert Schwarz took this photograph of some very extreme housework.       extreme ironing         

NEXT MONTH:  sunrise     

      A Real-Time Photo of South Pole Station as Seen from the ARO Building (live when satellite is up)

      A Comprehensive South Pole Web Site by Bill Spindler

       Winterover Web Pages (Bill Spindler's List)