Saturday, October 21, 2006

nacreous clouds

another awesome sky show i showed up too late to see.

Nacreous clouds glow brightly with vivid iridescent colours. They are wave clouds and their undulating sheet-like forms reveal the winds and waves of the stratosphere.

These rare clouds, sometimes called mother-of-pearl clouds, are 15 - 25km (9 -16 miles) high in the stratosphere and well above tropospheric clouds. They are iridescent but higher and rarer than ordinary iridescent clouds. They occur mostly but not exclusively in polar regions and in winter at high latitudes, Scandinavia, Alaska, Northern Canada.

They shine brightly in high altitude sunlight up to two hours after ground level sunset or before dawn. Their unbelievably bright iridescent colours and slow movement relative to any lower clouds make them an unmistakable and unforgettable sight.

aurora australis

some incredible sky shows that i came too late in the season to see. one would have to get here by august to see this. (i come in october)

fata morgana

some really cool optical illusions/mirages, seen from station accross the ice shelf.

A fata morgana, italian translation of Morgan le Fay, the fairy shapeshifting half-sister of King Arthur, is a mirage, an optical phenomenon which results from a temperature inversion. Objects on the horizon, such as islands, cliffs, ships or icebergs, appear elongated and elevated, like "fairy tale castles".
In calm weather, the undisturbed interface between warm air over cold dense air near the surface of the ground may act as a refracting lens, producing an upside-down image, over which the distant direct image appears to hover. Fata Morgana are usually seen in the morning after a cold night which has resulted in the radiation of heat into space. The first mention of 'Fata Morgana' in English, in 1818, referred to such a mirage noticed in the Strait of Messina, between Calabria and Sicily. It is common in high mountain valleys, such as the San Luis Valley of Colorado where the effect is exaggerated due to the curvature of the floor of the valley canceling out the curvature of the Earth. They may be seen in Arctic seas on very still mornings, or commonly on Antarctic ice shelves.
Fata Morgana are superior mirages, which are distinct from the more common inferior mirages, which create the illusion of distant pools of water in the desert and on hot roads.
(bless you wikipedia!)


these are the penguins that i never saw last seasons. they're adelie, the species most likely to show up around station.

arts and crafts show

during november mcmurdo has it's annual arts and crafts fair. the antarctic treaty doesn't allow the sale of any goods produced outside of antarctia; however, anything made here is fair game. a lot of people will get their xmas gifts here.

these are my "badd ass skua bracelets." they're made from broken cargo straps and old boots. a great gig. i spent zero dollars on the materials, so made $18 each. i sold out, and couldn't keep up with all of the orders made afterward.

this year, i'm making plenty way ahead of time.

how many santas fit into a bus stop shelter?


someone brought a bunch of santa and elf suits. we did stupid things: disrupted a volleyball tournament, played red rover (santas against elves), sung drunken xmas carols during the dinner hour, worked out in the gerbil gym (aerobic machine gym)......being obnoxious is fun!


view of mount erebus from the summit of castle rock. mount erebus is the southern most active volcano.

climbing castle rock

castle rock

a nice view of castle rock.


this is called a tomato. it's a shelter for hikers to use when the weather suddenly changes and you need to get out of it. it contains survival food, sleeping bags, telephone, water etc.

there are two along the way for this hike.

castle rock hike

here's a local hiking trail. during the deep summer (january last year) it's pretty nice. i think the temps were around 35-40 degrees for this hike.