Travel Log: 07 December 2001

Dateline: Friday, 07 December 2001
South Pole

Temp: -31.3°C / -24.4°F
Windchill: -56.0°C / -68.7°F
Wind: 14.7 knots, Grid 021
Barometer: 675.8 mB (10784 feet)

Randy writes:

Last night we had a small celebration for Vivian's birthday. Debbie the pastry chef even made a special birthday cake for her with "Happy Birthday Vivian" written in chocolate on the top. It was delicious and was a good excuse for us to take the rest of the evening off, as we had been working non-stop since we arrived.

Vivian has declared a full 48 hours of her birthday, since while it was her birthday yesterday (Dec 6) at Pole it is still December 6 in the United States today. Both Vivian and Jason are sleeping a bit late today as we plan to gather materials for the museum display "at night".

Around here "at night" means something different than in Chicago or New York. Here the sun stays up essentially at the same level in the sky all day, it just goes around. So night here is a) when dinner is served and most people are sleeping, and b) when the sun is in a certain position in the sky, i.e. on the left side of the dome if you are looking at the entrance.

DASI Today our stuffed friends climbed around the inside and outside of the DASI telescope. DASI is a very special telescope that looks at light from the early universe. It is a time machine of sorts that looks back at the infant universe to when the universe was a few hundred thousand years old. The universe is currently thought to be 14 billion years old. DASI observes this light in an uncommon way with 13 "eyes" that work together as pairs. The net result is a map of the early universe that shows slight differences in temperature and density which are the seeds of all structure in the universe (e.g., galaxies, stars, and planets).
penguin inside DASI bear inside DASI

We also visited the summer camp, which is temporary housing used in the summer. The green 1950's style housing is actually very comfortable.

Vivian enjoys her birthday cake.

Vivian the hustler. Is that Minnesota Fats behind her? No wait, maybe it's Fast Eddie Felson.
Jackie Gleason Paul Newman

Go on to the
next day...