Monday, March 22, 2010

Twilight Falls

Stop reading now if you think this is related to the vampire schlock that has pervaded popular media for a couple years now.

We have had the last kiss of sunshine for half a year here at the South Pole. Refractive effects of the atmosphere kept the image of the fiery orb visible for a while once it was below the horizon, but with the overcast we have now that is gone as well. There is still plenty of light, and will continue to be so, but that descent through nautical twilight into astronomical twilight is just beginning. We did have some nice pastel colors in the sky with sunset, but there were quite a few clouds. I think I have a few photos from when the sun was still higher, but photo ops haven't been all that great when I've been thinking about them. I'll post what I have when I get a chance.

There was a big meal and dance party Saturday night to celebrate the sunset, but I did not attend. Finding out at the end of my normal 12-hour workday that I was going to have to work in the middle of the night for one of my new and balky projects, I was pretty much put off participating in any festivities. Instead, in the intervening hours, I spent 3 hours working out in the gymnasium by myself and watched one of my favorite movies (now nearly 10 years old): Gladiator. I've just passed my 150th consecutive day of work, which inevitably changes a person's perception.

The temperatures seem to be leveling off some in the -60s to -70s°F range, probably thanks to the cloud cover. We have had light winds, but nothing too blustery for a couple weeks now.

Later this week I will begin the end-of-summer work for one of my projects at the Atmospheric Research Observatory (ARO), which is always a cold and arduous task at the bookends of winter. I have to do the reverse while it is still pretty dark and cold before the yearly ozone depletion event begins, too. In a month or so the first of my all-sky aurora cameras will be turned on.

So, having had my one sunset of this year, I settle into the experience of another winter at Pole. Eventually I will have my first sunrise of 2010, but that is many months off, and I will have much work and fun here before that comes to pass.

The night is a tunnel, a hole into tomorrow.
~Lady Jessica (Dune, Frank Herbert)

1 comment:

Desert Tortise said...

Guess you can't go riding off into the sunset then, huh?