From IceCube: “Week 31 at the Pole”

IceCube South Pole Neutrino Observatory

Christian Krueger, IceCube/NSF

The igloo from last week is finally finished. What began as an afternoon project ended up taking an entire week (well, high winds were partly to blame). In the image above, you can see the igloo lit from within, and perhaps even discern that there are only few blocks missing to complete the ceiling. They had some fine auroras to watch while building the igloo, and once finished, they gathered inside for a group photo and a warm treat—not hot cocoa, but a Thai curry. With people inside, and with its low-profile, hidden-beneath-blankets entrance, the igloo can maintain an interior temperature above 0 ºF.

The auroras were bountiful and varied in color last week, giving a nice purple show across a large part of the sky on one night. That can’t be what IceCube winterover Christian is reacting to in the last image below, since not only is he indoors but there are no unblocked windows to the outdoors that he could be looking through. What is it then? He is reacting to an elephant hiding in the janitor’s room—or “acting,” we should say, as it’s all part of shooting a short film for the Winter International Film Festival. Quite convincing, and a great teaser for their film!

Christian Krueger, IceCube/NSF

Christian Krueger, IceCube/NSF

South Pole WIFF Team/NSF

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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.