Archive for the ‘Photo-of-the-Day’ Category

Solar hounds abound

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Eh? Barring the fact that the title is a rather imperfect rhyme, what am I talking about?

You may, if you’re an avid follower of the blog (thank you kindly), remember that our meteorologist Sanki wrote a great article in one of the newsletters about interesing atmospheric phenomena here in Antarctica.  If you haven’t read that yet, then pop over to the newsletter page and look it up.  Sanki also gets special mention because I know her grandmother is a regular reader (Groete ouma!).

Parhelia, or ‘sundogs’ as they are commonly known, are bright glowing points in the daytime sky formed when the the rays of the sun are reflected by ice crystals in the atmosphere.  The same mechanism can cause beautiful rings to form (or an arc, if the sun is close to the horizon).  Depending on the size and type of the ice crystals, the common forms are 10° and 22° arcs.  Although not as striking as some of the ones I’ve been too slow to photograph, we had sundogs and an arc this evening which I was able to capture.  Oh, and yes, ouma, that is Sanki posing in the middle to blot out the sun 😉

Spectacular spectacular

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

Last night granted us the gift of the most impressive aurora we have seen since our arrival in Antarctica – a slight glow half-hidden in clouds erupted within minutes to form a dazzling display that filled the sky.  Huge arcs of green stretched across the stars while a shifting, twisting veil hung mesmerisingly to the south.   This lasted for around 15 minutes before fading  – although I was too slow to get my camera into position to capture this enourmous display, the slowly morphing remains and several distinct bands lasted for the next few hours before fading with the pre-dawn glow.

Click on the images for a larger view.

Photo-of-the-Day – 8 August 2008

Friday, August 8th, 2008

Returning from a walk during the brief hours of sunlight, we were surprised by a rapidly strengthening wind which soon had the spindrift blowing thick and fast.  Ambient temperatures were already in the -30’s before the wind picked up, and it had a chill which cut though clothing without mercy, leaving us no choice but to head back to base and take shelter.  As is the case so often in Antarctica, the inhospitability was paralleled in intensity by the beauty of the scene; spindrift cascading down the slope, filling the air with ice particles, each reflecting the golden light of the low sun.