Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Years

Fashionably late to the New Years Eve party

Happy New years from the South Pole.  We use New Zealand time here, which makes us among the first in the world to bring in the new years, although I suppose you could always just change where you're standing relative to the Pole and celebrate at any hour you choose!  On New Years Eve, we put in a 10 hour work day at the observatory, closing up a camera until 11:00PM, which means we felt we really earned our drinks of the evening.  Above is a shot of some of us on the return trip, sipping some "roadies."

The ice cap is constantly shifting and carries the base away from the South Pole.  Every few decades they build a new station (environmental wear and tear is pretty tough down here), which coincidentally helps them keep the base roughly near the pole.  Here's a couple pictures of the previous base in use from 1975-2005 (there was another base even before that built in the 1950s, currently buried in the ice):

Old dome base

Inside the old dome base

Every New Years Day, at noon, they have a ceremony where they move the official marker.  In this video, they have all of us present passing the US flag in an arc from the old location to the new (about 10 yards).

The winter-staff includes a station machinist, whose responsibilities include machining a new Pole marker.  This is a photo as it was unveiled:

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