Last night at about 10:30pm there was a group of people in the galley snacking and drinking water after volleyball. I was just getting up to leave after I looked outside and said “It’s the sun!”, without even looking a long time winter over who works with NOAA(National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) immediately responded “no, that is not the sun”. He then got up, looked and said after twelve winters, September 7th is the earliest he has ever seen it. The “professionals” decided that it was due to strong thermal layering in the atmosphere which caused the reflection even though the sun is still six degrees below the horizon. Yesterday, we entered “Civil Twilight”, another step before sunrise.
This picture was taken by another winter over. He went and got his camera and took this photo from the deck. The red smudge was longer and brighter when we first saw it, but by the time he took the photo it was starting to fade. From the time I looked out, we only saw the smudge for about five minutes before it faded into clouds. Today, it is completely cloudy and windy.
Temperatures have started to warm up this morning(-94F). We are hoping for much warmer temps(the goal is -45F) so we can start operating machinery and get ready for station opening. The goal is unlikely, but as long as it is warmer than -65F, Max and I can use machines for an hour per day. We will have two Baslers and one Twin Otter plane arriving on October 11th and staying over night before leaving for McMurdo for the summer season. These planes take the same route as the medevac flight from Canada, through South America and over the Drake passage and then stopping at the South Pole for fuel. So, the ski way needs to be totally groomed and ready for those planes. This takes the heavy equipment operator at least two weeks to drag fueling modules to the ski way, level it, and drag it. After those planes leave we have another week until one of the Basler’s comes back with six passengers to help us prepare for station opening on the 27th.