Scenes from Antarctica [Pics]

The aurora australis as seen from Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in 2009.

Today on The Atlantic, a beautiful photo essay on Antarctica, featuring not only the requisite scenery and penguins, but also images of the South Pole Telescope, radar images of ice sheet formations, SCINI (Submersible Capable of under Ice Navigation and Imaging) vehicles, the famed Shackelton’s whisky, and my personal favorite, researchers assembling the IceCube Neutrino Observatory.

The last Digital Optical Module of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory.

The IceCube Neutrino Observatory comprises a one cubic-kilometer array of Digital Optical Modules (DOMs) embedded below the ice at around two kilometers. Completed December 18, 2010, the 5,160 DOMs record the rare collisions between the water molecules of the ice and neutrinos – tiny, nearly massless sub-atomic particles that pass undetected through most matter. Though only recently completed, the DOMs have been recording data since 2005, already providing invaluable information about  properties of fundamental particles that originate in some of the most spectacular phenomena in the universe.

Time-lapse exposure of the southern celestial axis.

There are plenty of geeky factoids and some seriously impressive photography in the original post, which you can see here. Also, penguins!


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