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Topic: South Pole

NASA reports Ozone Hole Smallest on Record Since Its Discovery

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA and NOAA scientists reported today that abnormal weather patterns in the upper atmosphere over Antarctica dramatically limited ozone depletion in September and October, resulting in the smallest ozone hole observed since 1982.

The annual ozone hole reached its peak extent of 6.3 million square miles (16. 4 million square kilometers) on September 8th, and then shrank to less than 3.9 million square miles (10 million square kilometers) for the remainder of September and October, according to NASA and NOAA satellite measurements. During years with normal weather conditions, the ozone hole typically grows to a maximum area of about 8 million square miles in late September or early October.

The 2019 ozone hole reached its peak extent of 6.3 million square miles (16. 4 million square kilometers) on September 8th. Abnormal weather patterns in the upper atmosphere over Antarctica dramatically limited ozone depletion this year. (NASA)

The 2019 ozone hole reached its peak extent of 6.3 million square miles (16. 4 million square kilometers) on September 8th. Abnormal weather patterns in the upper atmosphere over Antarctica dramatically limited ozone depletion this year. (NASA)

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Austin Peay State University physics graduate Deborah Gulledge to spend 10 months at South Pole

 

Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TN – An Austin Peay State University (APSU) graduate is heading to the South Pole in January to perform seismology observations of the Solar System’s largest planet. She’ll be there – during winter – for 10 months.

Austin Peay State University graduate Deborah Gulledge tests the insulation on the telescope in a deep freezer in Hawaii. (APSU)

Austin Peay State University graduate Deborah Gulledge tests the insulation on the telescope in a deep freezer in Hawaii. (APSU)

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Austin Peay State University becomes home to U.S. Coast Guard veteran William Cody

 

Austin Peay State University (APSU)

Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University (APSU) says that for William Cody, the Cold War was actually ice-cold. After joining the U.S. Coast Guard in 1983, at the age of 25, he found himself aboard a polar-class icebreaker ship off the coast of Antarctica.

To keep warm, the crew drank authentic Russian vodka with bits of coal dust floating in it (they’d traded with Soviet sailors they met at the bottom of the world).

William Cody, a history major and Coast Guard veteran, takes classes in Austin Peay State University's Harned Hall.

William Cody, a history major and Coast Guard veteran, takes classes in Austin Peay State University’s Harned Hall.

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NASA Scientists identify Three Causes for the Earth’s Spin Axis Drift

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A typical desk globe is designed to be a geometric sphere and to rotate smoothly when you spin it. Our actual planet is far less perfect — in both shape and in rotation.

Earth is not a perfect sphere. When it rotates on its spin axis — an imaginary line that passes through the North and South Poles — it drifts and wobbles. These spin-axis movements are scientifically referred to as “polar motion.” Measurements for the 20th century show that the spin axis drifted about 4 inches (10 centimeters) per year. Over the course of a century, that becomes more than 11 yards (10 meters).

The observed direction of polar motion, shown as a light blue line, compared with the sum (pink line) of the influence of Greenland ice loss (blue), postglacial rebound (yellow) and deep mantle convection (red). The contribution of mantle convection is highly uncertain. (NASA/ JPL-Caltech)

The observed direction of polar motion, shown as a light blue line, compared with the sum (pink line) of the influence of Greenland ice loss (blue), postglacial rebound (yellow) and deep mantle convection (red). The contribution of mantle convection is highly uncertain. (NASA/ JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s InSight Spacecraft set to launch May 5th for Mars

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – In the early morning hours of May 5th, millions of Californians will have an opportunity to witness a sight they have never seen before – the historic first interplanetary launch from America’s West Coast.

On board the 189-foot-tall (57.3-meter) United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will be NASA’s InSight spacecraft, destined for the Elysium Planitia region located in Mars’ northern hemisphere. The May 5th launch window for the InSight mission opens at 4:05am PDT (6:05 CDT, 11:05 UTC) and remains open for two hours.

NASA's InSight to Mars undergoes final preparations at Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA, ahead of its May 5th launch date. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s InSight to Mars undergoes final preparations at Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA, ahead of its May 5th launch date. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Space Communications Networks turns 20

 

Written by Ashley Hume
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD –  NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS) don’t just enable data from spacecraft to reach Earth – they provide internet and even telemedicine to researchers at the South Pole. The South Pole TDRS Relay (SPTR) system turns 20 years old on January 9th, 2018.

In the 1990s, the National Science Foundation (NSF) faced a communications challenge with more than a hundred scientists working at their Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica per year to study everything from meteorology to astrophysics to climate.

The South Pole TDRS Relay (SPTR) ground terminal was installed at the National Science Foundation’s Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in December 1997 to help connect NSF researchers and their scientific data to the rest of the world. This image shows the original SPTR system, which became operational on Jan. 9, 1998. (NASA)

The South Pole TDRS Relay (SPTR) ground terminal was installed at the National Science Foundation’s Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in December 1997 to help connect NSF researchers and their scientific data to the rest of the world. This image shows the original SPTR system, which became operational on Jan. 9, 1998. (NASA)

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NASA says Early Universe Gravitational Waves hard to find

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A joint analysis of data from the Planck space mission and the ground-based experiment BICEP2 has found no conclusive evidence of gravitational waves from the birth of our universe, despite earlier reports of a possible detection.

The collaboration between the teams has resulted in the most precise knowledge yet of what signals from the ancient gravitational waves should look like, aiding future searches.

Planck is a European Space Agency mission with significant NASA contributions. BICEP2 and its sister project, the Keck Array, are based at the South Pole and funded by the National Science Foundation, also with NASA contributions.

The color scale in this image from the Planck mission represents the emission from dust, a minor but crucial component that pervades our Milky Way galaxy. The texture indicates the orientation of the galactic magnetic field. It is based on measurements of the direction of the polarized light emitted by the dust. (ESA/Planck Collaboration)

The color scale in this image from the Planck mission represents the emission from dust, a minor but crucial component that pervades our Milky Way galaxy. The texture indicates the orientation of the galactic magnetic field. It is based on measurements of the direction of the polarized light emitted by the dust. (ESA/Planck Collaboration)

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NASA’s AIM spacecraft data shows Teleconnections in Earth’s Atmosphere linking Climate and Weather across the Globe

 

Written by Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Earth’s poles are separated by four oceans, six continents and more than 12,000 nautical miles.

Turns out, that’s not so far apart.

New data from NASA’s AIM spacecraft have revealed “teleconnections” in Earth’s atmosphere that stretch all the way from the North Pole to the South Pole and back again, linking weather and climate more closely than simple geography would suggest.

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NASA Detector Technology discovers evidence of Gravitational Waves created by the Big Bang

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Astronomers are announcing today that they have acquired the first direct evidence that gravitational waves rippled through our infant universe during an explosive period of growth called inflation.

This is the strongest confirmation yet of cosmic inflation theories, which say the universe expanded by 100 trillion trillion times, in less than the blink of an eye.

The findings were made with the help of NASA-developed detector technology on the BICEP2 telescope at the South Pole, in collaboration with the National Science Foundation.

The BICEP2 telescope at the South Pole used a specialized array of superconducting detectors to capture polarized light from billions of years ago. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The BICEP2 telescope at the South Pole used a specialized array of superconducting detectors to capture polarized light from billions of years ago. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s AIM spacecraft examines Electric Blue Clouds forming over Antarctica

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Data from NASA’s AIM spacecraft show that noctilucent clouds are like a great “geophysical light bulb.” They turn on every year in late spring, reaching almost full intensity over a period of no more than 5 to 10 days.

News flash: The bulb is glowing.

As December unfolds, a vast bank of noctilucent clouds is blanketing Antarctica. It started on November 20th as a tiny puff of electric-blue and quickly expanded to overlie nearly the entire continent. AIM is monitoring the progress of the clouds as they swirl and ripple around the south pole.

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