Saturday, June 26, 2010

Alien Worlds

The Moon is back after being gone for two weeks and is it ever bright!  It's like a huge spotlight lighting up the Antarctic ice cap.  It is a big difference from last week when I got lost in the dark when I was only 20 feet from the station stairs.  Today you couldn't get lost unless there was a huge storm and blowing snow.

I don't know if you can see it in this compressed photo, but there is a huge halo around the moon that reaches just to the ice.   The column of light that appears to connecting the moon to the Earth is called a moon pillar.  Pillars are most often seen and photographed as Sun Pillars, but more rarely as Moon Pillars.  It is caused by the light of the Moon being reflected off the ice surface beyond the horizon and back into space. I've never seen a picture of a Moon Pillar before, so this may be a first. The building to the far right is the South Pole Telescope.

And this incredible photo is by Joe Romagnano, who keeps us in fresh vegetables from the greenhouse all winter. It is a 270 degree panorama of the station on June 1.   That is the Moon to the left, and the South Pole marker in the near right.  I remember these aurora very well.  I was outside and remember thinking that they weren't very impressive, so you can imagine how magnificent they can get.  Click the picture for a larger view.


Fern Emma said...

Magnificent photos! Thanks for sending them along.

Rahul said...

Amazing Pictures

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