I'm a scientist studying cosmology and astrophysics as part of the South Pole Telescope collaboration. Here are my musings on our work and my journeys to the South Pole to work on the telescope.
Wednesday, 28 November 2012
We've been continuously taking calibration data now for over a week. We've been back out to the calibration source a couple times, and I finally took a turn at driving the snow mobile. It's pretty fun! We'll be shutting down shortly so that the receiver team can lower the instrument out of the telescope and get to work. Data taking mode means that I've had more time to take pictures, both at the telescope, the source and around the station. So I went back out to the pole marker with a couple of fellow SPTers and played in the snow for a bit.
This first picture is of a fellow SPTer walking through the snow out at the source.
The pole marker is a thing of beauty. Each year a new one is made for when the pole is moved, and all of the old ones are kept in a case inside the station. 2012 was the 100 year anniversary of Scott reaching the pole, so the marker is in honor of that. The machine work to make it is exceptional. In early January this marker will be retired and the new installed.
The weather the last few days has been exceptionally clear. Without blowing snow, you can see out for several kilometers. Here, you can see me, with the vast nothing in the background.
After pictures at the geographic pole, we took the quick walk over the ceremonial pole to take a few 'hero shots'. The ceremonial pole looks just like something out of a movie, red and white stripped with a shiny metal ball on top. Several times now I've seen daytrippers (people that fly in and out the same day) run out quickly to the ceremonial pole, take their pictures, look around for about five minutes and then go back inside without going by the geographic pole. The ceremonial pole is shiny, so I was able to take a picture of myself in it.