7 December 2017 Sun Dog and a Weather Balloon

Today I saw my first sun dog in the sky! This is a phenomenon that is caused by the light refracted by ice crystals in the sky. It usually looks like a circle is wrapped around the sun and can give the appearance of more than one sun in the sky.

Sun DogSun dog at the ARA drill team prep site.

This morning was the first hazy day we've had so it was really remarkable seeing the ice crystals form in the sky. It almost had the appearance of snowing, but really it was just small crystals sparkling in the air.

I also got to see a weather balloon launch today. This can be an especially difficult task when then wind is blowing hard because the instruments being carried by the balloon need to be in an upright direction. It takes about two weeks to pack up the instruments used in the weather balloon and the team launches them each week.

Weather balloon launchMeteorologists preparing to launch a weather balloon outside the South Pole Station.

The Meteorology Department at the South Pole frequently measures temperature, wind, and pressure from the surface and the upper levels of the atmosphere. Their work supports scientists at the South Pole, as well as international research projects. Since this data collection has remained consistent for the past forty years, many scientists are interested in using the data for global climate change research.

IceCube and the Askaryan Radio Array

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