Katy's South Pole Journal Sunset Edition: 2 April, 1995
Well, a lot has happened since I last wrote!
18 March: Right after I told you I couldn't see the full moon, it rose above the horizon, and for just a while -between clouds- the sun and the full moon shared opposite ends of the same sky! There aren't many places where you can see a full moon at noon: usually the earth gets in the way! (Actually, it's impossible to see a totally FULL full moon from the earth, isn't it?)
19 March: Today we switched from Daylight Savings Time to New Zealand Standard Time. Bill and John made a huge Cajun feast for dinner, and we celebrated Eileen's birthday. Eileen is the station Doctor: she's from Fairbanks, Alaska.
20 March: The sun looks like a soft-boiled egg yolk, rolling along the clouds and threatening to hide behind them.
21 & 22 March: I had HOUSEMOUSE, meaning I spent all day in the galley, scrubbing dishes and bringing food in from outside. On Tuesday we had a fire drill: a mock explosion in the cargo arch, with two victims. It doesn't take long for people to freeze outside, so our main concern is to get them someplace warm before we can really evaluate their injuries. It's a real test of our teamwork skills!
23 March: I inspected the fire extinguishers at work and spent most of the afternoon catching up on paperwork, etc. I was hoping to catch a last glimpse of the sun: thanks to refraction, we should be able to see it long after the equinox. If only the weather would cooperate!
24 March: So much for seeing sunset! Visibility is less than half a kilometer because of high winds and blowing snow. Sigh!
25 March: Finally a clear-ish sky, and we can see a bright orange sliver above pink clouds, as if the sun is waving goodbye from the other side of the horizon.
Jeff brought all of our solar radiation instruments inside, to be stored until the sun rises again in September. A piece of the moon still lingers in the sky, and now it's time to look for planets and stars!
26 March: Sunday... a day for french class and LOUNGING!
27 March: I got a letter from Beth, who is in second grade and wants to know if we can see stars when it gets dark. Well, Beth: it's not even dark yet, and I saw two planets on my way work this morning: Venus and Jupiter! We should be able to see Sirius, too, but clouds are in the way.
28 March: Jeff and I launched our last rubber balloon for the season. Next week we'll switch to plastic balloons for our ozonesondes: they're bigger, and they reach higher altitudes.
29 March: At 0400 the fire alarm sounded in the power plant. No fire or smoke, so we don't know what caused it, but it was an interesting way to start the day...
30 March: Our router has been broken for two days! No Email, in or out! How will we ever survive??? ;-) The sky is still bright, but more stars appear every day. That's my favorite thing about a twilight that lasts for weeks: it gives you plenty of time to identify the stars and planets before the sky gets too crowded! So far I've only seen Jupiter, Venus, and Sirius, but the Southern Cross and its pointers should "pop out" next week; I'll let you know...
31 March: Snow samples again, and my eyes are buggy from working on the computer all afternoon. So I'll close with a synopsis of March's weather, courtesy of the ASA Meteorology Department... more soon! -Katy McNitt
TEMPERATURES: SKY COVER: AVG TEMP...-52.9(C)/ -63.2(F) AVG CLOUD COVER....05 MAX TEMP...-40.3(C)/ -40.5(F) ON THE 24TH DAYS CLEAR.........12 MIN TEMP...-66.8(C)/ -88.2(F) ON THE 30TH DAYS PARTLY CLOUDY.12 DAYS CLOUDY........07 WIND: AVG WIND SPEED... 13.8 MPH OR 12.0 KTS. PREVAILING WIND DIRECTION (GRID) NORTH OR 010 DEGREES. MAX WIND.........32 MPH OR 28 KTS ON THE 13TH. DIRECTION........GRID NORTH. AVG VECTORED WIND...51.8 AT 10.2 KNOTS.
PRESSURE: AVG STATION PRESSURE...683.1 MBS OR 20.173 IN. HG. HIGHEST PRESSURE........691.2 MBS OR 20.411 IN. HG. ON THE 19TH. LOWEST PRESSURE.........671.1 MBS OR 19.818 IN. HG. ON THE 28TH.