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Watching the Winter Blues (and pinks and reds and yellows)

George, Thursday 1 April 2010

Temperature: -14.5°C
Wind Speed: 19 knots
Temp with wind chill: -38°C
Sunrise: 7:17am
Sunset: 8.43pm

Brightness and whiteness were pretty much my first impressions of Antarctica. The continual daylight was surreal at first; outside you needed sunglasses and it always seemed like the afternoon, even at 2am in the morning!

Sky over Scott Base © Antarctica New Zealand, Steven Sun

Sky over Scott Base © Antarctica New Zealand, Steven Sun

But how quickly things have changed! On 21 February we had our first sunset, when the sun dipped just beneath the horizon and popped back up a short while later. I rather naively assumed the sky would darken and the stars come out, but in fact there was only a dusky half-light.

First sunset of 2010 © Antarctica New Zealand, Steven Sun

First sunset of 2010 © Antarctica New Zealand, Steven Sun

As the sun sets half an hour earlier each day, the nights have begun to rapidly draw in. At the moment we have something like ‘normal’ daylight hours, with the sky at night a deep dark blue and the moon rising to the west. In 4 weeks the sun will set for the last time, and we shan’t see it again until August.

The midnight sun seen from Scott Base © Antarctica New Zealand, Steven Sun

The midnight sun seen from Scott Base © Antarctica New Zealand, Steven Sun

I am intrigued by the thought of 3 solid months of 24-hour darkness, and I wonder how it will affect our moods. Will we develop the T3 syndrome, a condition of short term memory loss and irritability due to the lack of light, and will our issued vitamin D tablets be of any help? In the interests of science - watch this space!

Saying goodbye to the sun © Antarctica New Zealand, Steven Sun

Saying goodbye to the sun © Antarctica New Zealand, Steven Sun

3 Responses to “Watching the Winter Blues (and pinks and reds and yellows)”

  1. Rae Bassett says:

    Wonderful post - thanks for the pictures. I can’t imagine 3 months of darkness. It would fee like the end of days. Happy Easter to everyone on the base.


  2. MIke O says:

    I have been intrigued by all things antarctic for about 3 years. I just found this and look forward to watching this space. Good luck with the Vitamin D!


  3. NIck Mayo says:

    Hi George.

    Great post. The colours and compositions are amazing. I am intrigued to hear of your winter experiences as the sun dips below the horizon.

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