Location: Lat: 71 32.675 Long: 145 39.254
Sunrise: 9:45 am Sunset: 5:06 pm
****This morning we attempted the second Live from IPY event - where the researchers and I call in from the Polar Sea and have a live conference about the research and the trip. I was very excited to hear from my students to see how they are doing, however the satellite connection for the phone was just not working.
I apologize to anyone who tried to listen in to the event, but communications are hard to predict when you are this far north. In order to actually have any communication off the ship, we use iridium satellite signals to transmit data. The message goes from the phone on board the ship to a satellite antennae just behind the bridge of the boat. The signal gets transmitted to one of 66 satellites that orbit the Earth multiple times a day, which then transmits the signal to a path of other satellites to get the signal back down to Earth and passed onto the desired location. It's designed to work similar to cell phone towers, in the sense that when we are out of reach of one of the satellites then the signal gets bounced to the next one within reach. However, just like cell phones, that does not always work and we loose connection or simply do not get connection at all. (We must have been in a "dead zone" today)
We also use another type of satellite connection for internet connection called inmarsat. Inmarsat is a geosynchronous satellite - this just means the satellite is in a fixed position over the Earth at the equator. It stays in a fixed position because it rotates around the Earth at the same speed as the Earth rotates. Since it does not move in order to get a connection the antenna on the ship has to be adjusted as the ship changes direction.
Being unable to connect to the phone call this morning reminded me of just how far away we are from anything else. However, it is nice to be able to connect with those back home via this journal, the ask the team forums and email.
Due to 40 mph winds today, we are grounded from flying again. We are being hopeful about improvement in the weather for tomorrow so that we can go out in search of more of the collared polar bears that are essential to the data collection of this project.