Yesterday, Ann and Dan spent a (relatively) warm and sunny day at McMurdo Station. In addition to spotting some Adelie penguins, they watched the southern-most rugby game in the world, played near New Zealand’s Scott Base between the Kiwis and Americans…the Kiwis won. (Photo courtesy of Dan Satterfield.)
Today, our traveling reporters are visiting the South Pole - the geographic bottom of the Earth. Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station sits on a 9,000 foot-thick ice plateau. Because the ice sheet gradually moves over land toward the sea, the offical South Pole marker needs to be moved about 30 feet every year to stay accurate. Luckily, it was adjusted at the beginning of 2010!
Travel to and from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station only occurs from October to February. The original South Pole Station was built in 1956-57 and is now buried under snow. A second station was built in 1975 under a geodesic dome (think Disney’s Epcot), and a brand new, state-of-the-art elevated South Pole station was dedicated in January 2008.
Ann and Dan will be learning about ozone research at the pole and visiting the South Pole Telescope. The South Pole Telescope is the largest telescope ever deployed to the South Pole, which was completed in early 2007. The goals of the Telescope are to investigate Dark Energy and Dark Matter, which will help determine the age and make-up of the Universe, how it has changed as it has aged, how it works now and what it may look like in the future. The instrument’s first major scientific breakthrough included the detection of four galaxy clusters in 2008, three of which are new discoveries.
Learn more about the South Pole Telescope.
Check out the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station webcam.
View a video photo collage from the South Pole Station.