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Geology of Antarctica > IceCube Drill Camp and IceCube Lab Awaiting Sunset by Ella Derbyshire

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About This Gigapan

Taken by
Ella Derbyshire Ella Derbyshire
Explore score
0.18 Gigapixels
Date added
Mar 20, 2009
Date taken
Mar 19, 2009

Nikon D80's

architectural, environmental, geology, landscape, nature, travel

GigapanMagazine.org Will open in a new tab or window vol 1 issue 2

Contributors: Camille Parisel and Erik Verhagen

It is the day before sunset at the South Pole. IceCube Drill Camp is deserted and cold.

During the summers of 2004 to 2008, hundreds of scientists and ice drillers were at the South Pole for this massive project. Their multiyear goal is to complete a huge neutrino detector under the Antarctic ice. When they are done, they will have drilled 80 holes and placed in each of them a string of 60 light-detecting modules (DOM’s). The 4800 DOM's will be a single 1 cubic kilometer telescope in the clear ice deep beneath the South Pole.

We are approaching winter 2009. The drills have stopped. Nobody is deploying DOM’s and most of the IceCube crew has left. Today only 2 IceCubers remain at the South Pole. They will stay here through the winter, working on the computers as they gather data from flashes of light passing through the ice.

If you were here at the South Pole this summer, you might be wondering about the location and the size of the drill camp. It has been moved a little towards the northwest, and some of the buildings, most noticeably the TOS, and the reels of hose and wire have been moved to winter storage on the berms. Once the sun returns, the buildings and materials will be dragged back to the drill camp and everything will be in place to start a new drilling season by December.

When you look at this icy landscape, notice the position of the sun in the sky. Tomorrow the sun will sink below the horizon and the South Pole will fall into the deepening twilight, waiting for the darkness of winter to begin.

The 62 images of this panorama were photographed with a Nikon D80 and stitched with Autopano Pro.

Gigapan Comments (2)

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  1. Ella Derbyshire

    Ella Derbyshire (August 29, 2009, 04:08PM )

    IceCube is looking for neutrinos, which are very high-energy particles thrown off at the time of cataclysmic events in the universe. The collapse of a star, with a supernova, and the formation of a black hole or a neutron star would produce a burst of neutrinos that this telescope would hopefully detect.

  2. Denis Stalens

    Denis Stalens (March 20, 2009, 04:16AM )

    brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr :p

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