Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Dark Days Ahead

Click On Photos To Enlarge



The photos above were taken by Bill, the NSF Station Manager
this May (top two photos) and last May (bottom two photos).
Even though we turned off quite a few lights last year to
conserve energy, this year we've probably turned off twice
as many and it's very obvious when comparing the photos. I
for one am very happy since I am a Dark Sky proponent and we
will see many more stars and auroras here in town. There
are some who would rather turn on all of the lights but I
think it's more how Antarctica should be and not just some
big town on the edge of the wilderness. Safety does however
play a big part of our lives down here and I concede that we
need to have a fair share of lights on so people will not
hurt themselves. For the next few months, this will be our
view when looking over McMurdo as the Sun is long gone and
even the very dim twilight at midday will be gone in less than
a week. However, with the lights vastly dimmed, I'm
looking forward to some fantastic sky shows this winter!


Benjamin said...

As someone who has been lost in a white-out, who ran into a building and didn't even know which building it was (this was during winfly when there was much more light) and had to navigate to safety using the lights that were on in town, I am always an advocate for lights on. I love energy conservation. I love to be able to see all sorts of pretty stars, but I sooo hate dying. That really sucks. Not that the powers that be would ever have any concern for human life down there!

IowaMouse said...

I'd have to agree, benjamin. I'm all for the pretty skies, but town is town...leave the lights on. It's the one thing you can look at when you're out on the ice and get that warm fuzzie knowing that that's where other people are...that's where home is. I thought last year's low lights were fine. Pretty soon all you'll be able to see is a lighthouse type light. LOL

Anonymous said...

Please excuse this really ignorant question (I do really enjoy your blog about life in Antarctica!) but how is electricity for lighting etc generated down there?

Tom said...

There is a power plant here similar to any kind in the world, except it's smaller. Once a year, a ship comes in and delivers millions of gallons of fuel that must last at least a year. We have electricity lines like everyone else, but sewer, water, etc. all run in pipes above ground because it's too hard to dig into the ground here and if there is a problem, they can access the pipe easier. Hopefully that answered your question.

Anonymous said...

Hey thamks for answering that. I find your blog really interesting and informative! Have been reading it for a while now (from Dunedin, New Zealand)