September, 2005....J. Dana Hrubes...updated September 30, 2005 , 0700 GMT

The approaching sunrise at the South Pole, 6 months after sunset

September at the Pole - Sunrise

September is the month when we get to see the sun for the first time since it set back on about March 21st. Also, September is usually a windy month, so we usually miss the actual sunrise which takes place over a day or two.   first orange glow early in the month          dome  just before sunrise       snow covered dome    

Panorama taken near the SETI optical telescope as the sun nears the horizon on September 10. Sunrise is only about 10 days away. (scroll to the right to see entire panorama)

Photo taken downwind of skylab and the dome about 9 days from sunrise as someone in the distance gazes up at the waxing moon. (scroll to the right to see entire panorama)

A panorama of South Pole Station taken at sunrise on September 20th showing the nearly buried dome. (scroll to the right to see entire panorama)

September is also the month when Polies begin the long task of digging out from the long dark winter and to prepare for the first aircraft flight arriving in late October, when the temperature rises above -65 F.     snow covered Atmospheric Research Observatory (ARO)          ARO snow         snow covered compressed gas bottles     

It is now light enough outside to see the interestingly shaped sastrugi that we were tripping over during the dark winter.    sastrugi-1        sastrugi-2         sastrugi-3         sastrugi-4             Sastrugi is formed when winds pack and then carve out snow drifts.  The harder the snow is packed, the less the wind can erode the drift. When one steps over these drifts, the snow gets packed underneath each step creating areas more resistance to wind erosion. The result is sastrugi formed under each footprint made days earlier.          footprint sastrugi      

I was able to keep the back door of the Cusp lab on the first floor of skylab from drifting in this year, by building a tunnel from plywood and creating an exit cover with triwall cardboard.       cusp lab exit (below the visible second story railing)      stairs carved of snow to cusp lab exit (from inside skylab)  

wind torn flags on the flaglines  

And finally, several of us formed a 1960's band in order to play for a birthday party. We learned almost 50 musical hits from the 60's in about 10 days.  I was the only one in the band that was actually around in the 1960's and it was the first time I have played drums for this music since I was in a rock band from 1967-1970.     Hot Fudge and the Starlights band poster (by K. Keenan (trumpet player)        the band      rockin'      dancing      drumming       Moving the instruments from skylab to the new station is required before we can put on a show    moving music-1      moving music-2       moving music-3      

NEXT MONTH:  first plane since February

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)