Goodbye Night

October 23, 2009

Hello moon.  Last night, I saw it for the first time since I’ve been in Antarctica.  I’m sure it’s been around – I just haven’t noticed it.  Ironically, last night was the last sunset/sunrise at McMurdo until February 20th.  The sun was below the horizon for just over on hour.  From now until the summer solstice it will keep spiraling higher and higher into the sky.  I am intrigued by this phenomenon and how will if affect me, both physically and mentally.  Will I be able to tell about what time it is by looking at the sun?  If I look at a clock and see it says 6:00, will I know if it is morning or evening?  The fact that we will be working shift work (we are open 24-7) will add to the confusion.

The aircraft that we are controlling are in Antarctica to support the research happening in down here.  We will have 2 airports and 1 dump area (for a controlled crash – in case of an emergency).   Every year the Federal Aviation Administration has to come down here to flight check the instrument procedures for the airports.  The FAA has special instruments on some of their planes, which they use for this purpose.  Yesterday, both Mike and I got to go up in the FAA’s plane while they were running some of their checks.  It was interesting and educational from a couple standpoints.  First of all, we learned a little about what all is involved to certify an instrument flight procedure.  Secondly, we got to see the area we are living in from a different perspective.  This is the main reason I asked to go.  It was great to get up into the air and see, not only McMurdo Station, but other landmarks I had read about in The Worst Journey in the World.  We also got to see the open ocean, which is about 15 miles north of McMurdo.

PICT0767 The final sunset this Spring

DSC_0071 Mt. Erebus with open water to on the left side

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