13 January, 1999

Wednesday, January 13th, 1999, South Pole Station

A wonderful day to every body from the very South of the world!

Today, we had a 7:30 a.m. meeting for our tour through the 'Dark Sector' of the South Pole Station. Remember, I told you that the Station is divided into several sectors. The 'Dark Sector' is the part of the station where astrophysical research is conducted. It is one of the restricted sectors and is therefore located further away from the dome. This restriction minimizes light, pollution, and electronic interference. The building contain several projects.

One of the projects is called AMANDA( Antarctic Muon and Neutrino Detector Array). Sue Bowman, the other teacher here at the South, parcticipates in the research., It uses the deep ice at the South Pole as the largest Neutrino Telescope on Earth. The detector looks downward into the ice to detect the path of neutrinos that pass through the Earth, which helps us to understand the structure of the early universe. The project CARA (Center for Astrophysical Research in Antarctica) takes advantages of superior seeing conditions which are made possible by the low temperature and near absence of water vapor in the atmosphere. Large telescopes can gather data with the potential to answer questions about the formation of the universe, such as how stars are formed. The project SPIREX (South Pole Infrared Explorer) uses infrared light to detect star formation in far distances. I was impressed by all the telescopes and technology and was glad to have had a chance to observe it all.

In between answering emails, we met with the halo specialists from Finland, Marko Riikonen and Jarmo Moilanen. Sue, Bryan, and I enjoyed their recording of special light reflections, which are formed

because of different ice crystals in the air. It was interesting to hear how the special 'glow' around the sun is formed.

After lunch, Bryan and I worked all afternoon on preparing for our triple-ozone sonde flight. Before I talk about our next launch lets look at yesterday's question: What do you think a 'weigh-off-weight' is? Why do you think we have to be careful inflating the balloon with the right amount of helium? The 'weigh-off-weight' is the weight the balloon has to lift so that the experimental instruments will not 'drag' along the ground. That would not be a good idea. So, we weigh the instruments and add 20% of its weight just to make sure that the balloon can lift the package with the ozonesonde. We used enough helium for the double sonde to lift 2000gr and for the triple sonde about 3500gr.


Two triple ozonesonde will be tested ( two replicates: total 6 ozonesondes)

1. the first set will contain the 1% KI buffered solution

2. the second set will contain the 2% KI, unbuffered solution

Each triple-ozone set will have the following model of ozonesondes: a) Old Model (4A) used since the 80'ties Features: - 6v motor pump

- Teflon electrochemical cells connected to gears (no electronical interface )

- Analog data is collected

b) New model ( 6A) , used since the 90'ties

Features: - 12v motor pump

- Teflon electrochemical cells

- electronical interface, digital data collects

c) New model (2Z) similar to above except different material (molded plastic instead of Teflon) for

electrochemical cells.

We prepared two sets of these sondes and are ready for the launch tomorrow!!

I have still trouble falling asleep with all the sunshine around me. So, when all went to bed, I stayed up writing journals and answering emails. When I left the ARO building at 3a.m., I took advantage of the different angle of the sun and took some pictures and walked around a bit. It is now 5 a.m. and it looks like we are getting our first storm. Time to go to bed. Left a note for Bryan to wake me up for the ozone launch. Since it is late/early, I will answer the questions posted yesterday later today. Cheers, until later. The question for today is: at what angle do you think the sun is up and would the angle change in 24 hours?

Visiting the 'Dark sector' , which is about 1/2 a mile from the station. This section includes labs for astrophysical research.

Bryan is placing an ozonesonde into the triple-ozonesonde container. All three sondes will be launched together, comparing different ozonesonde models.

Triple-ozonesondes from the top view and -- hello from me --I jumped into the picture.

A close-up of an ozonesonde. Bryan is pointing at the electrochemical cells, where the ozone concentration is measured.

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