Up on The Roof

This week, the Air Force flew a C17 training mission over the South Pole, to practice for a winter air drop in case one is ever necessary. We normally don’t get C17s at South Pole, since our skiway is too soft to land planes without skis, so the flight drew a good number of onlookers.

C17 air drop training

Contrails can happen at ground level here

A few of us watched from the roof of the main station, up above the lab where I do most of my work. There are a few scientific instruments mounted on the roof, I like this particular one – the Campbell-Stokes sunlight recorder. As the sun spins around, the glass sphere focuses sunlight to a point that burns a track in a piece of paper. We need two recorders positioned back-to-back here, because the sun spins through all 360 degrees around us, rather than rising an setting like in more moderate latitudes.

Campbell-Stokes recorder

From the roof, there’s also a nice view of the ceremonial South Pole (it’s a few dozen meters away from the actual geographic South Pole, but better located for photos), and the bleak horizon beyond.ceremonial pole

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About ianrrees

Nerdy guy.
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