The Instrument at the Pole

Now that I was all settled in at the Pole, acclimated to altitude and fully oriented to snowmobiles and the protocols at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, it was time to find my crate and begin deployment of my own instruments at the Pole.  The crate had arrived safe and sound a few days before I arrived and was already loaded into the IceCube Lab (ICL). The winterover staff of IceCube had kindly cleared me a generous workspace in the ICL and I proceeded to fully occupy it and sort and assemble all my gear. 

My workspace in the IceCube Lab

My workspace in the IceCube Lab

The crate reassembled as the floor of the instrument. It survived the trip to the Pole without a scratch and with some nice graffiti.

The crate reassembled as the floor of the instrument. It survived the trip to the Pole without a scratch and with some nice graffiti.

Assembling the "instrument" went really smoothly. Thankfully I didn't have to assemble it outside at -17 deg. F. 

I was so glad I bought my trusty felt work slippers with me!

I was so glad I bought my trusty felt work slippers with me!

IMG_2869.JPG

I was so lucky to be at the Pole at exactly the same time as two wonderful young European scientists who were working at IceCube. Gwenhael de Wasseige from Brussels and Martin Rongen from Aachen in Germany. They both had there own instruments to deploy and debug but they were happy to help me get mine out on the ice too. 

Gwen, a trained cellist, checks the calibration of the fully strung instrument.

Gwen, a trained cellist, checks the calibration of the fully strung instrument.

To the Pole!!

To the Pole!!

The mast installed on the floor. An Aeolian sundial.

The mast installed on the floor. An Aeolian sundial.

Polheim 2.0 My team. Martin Rongen, Valentine Kass (NSF representative) and Gwen De Wasseige.

Polheim 2.0

My team. Martin Rongen, Valentine Kass (NSF representative) and Gwen De Wasseige.

So the Instrument was deployed. All I had to do was wait for the wind to rise and listen to its transduction of the changing atmospheric pressure of the Polar plateau. 

White on white.

White on white.

"The afternoon may be so clear that you dare not make a sound, lest it fall in pieces. And on such a day I have seen the sky shatter like a broken goblet, and dissolve into iridescent tipsy fragments-ice crystals falling across the face of the sun. And once in the golden downpour a slender column of platinum leaped up from the horizon, clean through the sun's core; a second ond luminous shadow formed horizontally through the sun, making a perfect cross. Presently two miniature suns, green and yellow in color, flipped simultaneously to the ends of each arm. These are parhelia, the most dramatic of all refraction phenomena; nothing is lovelier." Richard E. Byrd. Alone: The Classic Polar Adventure.

"The afternoon may be so clear that you dare not make a sound, lest it fall in pieces. And on such a day I have seen the sky shatter like a broken goblet, and dissolve into iridescent tipsy fragments-ice crystals falling across the face of the sun. And once in the golden downpour a slender column of platinum leaped up from the horizon, clean through the sun's core; a second ond luminous shadow formed horizontally through the sun, making a perfect cross. Presently two miniature suns, green and yellow in color, flipped simultaneously to the ends of each arm. These are parhelia, the most dramatic of all refraction phenomena; nothing is lovelier."

Richard E. Byrd. Alone: The Classic Polar Adventure.

An imaginary spot in the middle of a vast and windy plateau.   Richard E. Byrd. 

An imaginary spot in the middle of a vast and windy plateau.   Richard E. Byrd.