From IceCube: “Week 12 at the Pole”

IceCube South Pole Neutrino Observatory

06 Apr 2016
Jean DeMerit
Images by Christian Krueger, IceCube/NSF


A mushroom cloud … at the South Pole? What’s going on down there? What’s going on is actually a rising full moon getting distorted by the atmosphere. Pretty cool image. The moon is reflecting a bright sun that officially set last week at the Pole, not to reappear for another six months. But what a gorgeous sunset it was. The image below shows a nice indoor view, where the sharp line of the horizon—bright orange sky contrasted with cold blue ground—extends through a row of windows in the galley.

Activities? The station held their traditional sunset dinner, which had not only duck but also lobster on the menu. Nice. It was also time to remove the flags from the ceremonial South Pole for the winter. One minute they were there, the next they were gone (almost). Finally, some shenanigans were apparently in order, as shown by winterover Christian posing as if to cut the cables and say good-bye to IceCube as they had just said good-bye to the sun.





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ICECUBE neutrino detector
IceCube is a particle detector at the South Pole that records the interactions of a nearly massless sub-atomic particle called the neutrino. IceCube searches for neutrinos from the most violent astrophysical sources: events like exploding stars, gamma ray bursts, and cataclysmic phenomena involving black holes and neutron stars. The IceCube telescope is a powerful tool to search for dark matter, and could reveal the new physical processes associated with the enigmatic origin of the highest energy particles in nature. In addition, exploring the background of neutrinos produced in the atmosphere, IceCube studies the neutrinos themselves; their energies far exceed those produced by accelerator beams. IceCube is the world’s largest neutrino detector, encompassing a cubic kilometer of ice.