Katy's South Pole Journal 29 July, 1995

For those wondering about the weather, here are some numbers for you to toss around: it's windy today which means warmer and cloudy but this morning was cool and clear (-77 F, -145 F with wind-chill) and we witnessed the most outstanding auroral display yet - a wide rolling wash of fuzzy teal - it was actually bright enough to illuminate the sastrugi, so I didn't trip once during my short commute to work. A nice compliment for the hint of twilight that toastier crew members claim to have seen on the horizon lately.

Weather data at 1200 C.U.T. on 29 July:

Temp: -59.6 F/-50.9 C Wind: 040 degrees, 23 knots Wind-chill Temp: -135.4 F/-93.0 C Pressure: 687.2 mb "Physiological Altitude": 10,385 feet/3,157 meters (Actual altitude is 2,835 meters but the atmosphere gets squished at the poles so the air's thinner here) Visibility: 0.06 miles due to blowing snow

Not much news from this neck o' the world. Local moods are fluctuating between "Yippee! Only 92 Days Until Opening" and "Oh Hell! Only 92 Days Until Opening! I'll Never Get This Stuff Finished." That is typical for this time of year. I haven't heard "I'm really gonna miss you guys" yet; I think that comes after "Well, it's been real, I'm outta here (oh and by the way)"

I can definitely tell that we're nearing the home stretch. Some of us are ending our meals with only two desserts instead of three, and gym use has skyrocketed now that people are starting to realize that 1) they might want to do some hiking in New Zealand/Australia, and 2) they won't be able to eat like this at home and get away with it, and 3) soon, we won't be able to hide under seven layers of clothing anymore!

At least it'll be winter in the States when we get back. I think the National Science Foundation plans it that way, to avoid mid-summer beach sightings of 28 bikini-clad, furry, translucent-skinned, purple- baggy-eyed aliens. (The police in Christchurch have gotten used to it, I guess.) Still, I couldn't help but notice one of the six copies of PEOPLE's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" that we received for airdrop: it features Courtney Cox on the cover, and she's more pallid than anyone here. So maybe the underground cave-dweller look is the new fashion trend, after all, in this age of the Ozone Hole.

Funny, isn't it, that the 50 most beautiful people in the world all live in North America...

But I digress.

So here's a cool breeze and a bear hug from me...

cheers: Katy McNitt Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station