The Sun returns... finally; South Pole, September 23, 2007
Global Monitoring Division -
This story entered on 26th Sep, 2007 07:22:54 AM PST
NOAA/ESRL South Pole Baseline Atmospheric Research Observatory personnel, Johan Booth and Emrys Hall, who are wintering over at the U.S. Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, finally saw the sun return to the polar plateau after 6 months of darkness. The equinox time, also known as the sun rise time at the South Pole, was 05:51 EST (09:51 GMT) on September 23, 2007. Assuming basic atmospheric refraction, the sun could have been seen as much as two days earlier. However overcast skies prevented any early glimpses of the sun. The sun is now above the horizon at South Pole and will continually stay above the horizon until March 22, 2008 when it will set once again for 6 months. Air temperatures as low as -75C (-100 F) are typical into September, as the coldest temperatures of the year are often recorded just before the sun's return. The geographic South Pole is located at 2850 meters (9,350 ft.) above sea level on solid ice approximately two miles thick. NOAA/ESRL staff members each spend a full twelve months stationed at the South Pole observatory and sunrise signals that the end of their tour is near. Only a few short weeks until the station opens for the austral summer season and two new NOAA/ESRL staff members arrive Pole to relieve the current crew. To view the South Pole sunrise, go the live NOAA/ESRL web camera at http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/obop/spo/livecamera.html.