Monthly Archives: April 2012

First of Three Antarctic Telescopes Installed

Dome Argus, the highest point on the Antarctic Plateau, is now home to a robotic half-meter-long telescope called AST3-1, one of three planned for the Plateau Observatory or Plato-A.  The combination of three telescopes will give astronomers the ability to hunt for planets about the size of Earth around other stars , find supernovaes useful […]

Hidden damage to Antarctica’s ice shelves

This just in from NASA: Using data from ICEsat (Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite) scientists have discovered that warm currents have been rapidly eating away at the undersides of the ice shelves around Antarctica.  A study, recently published in the journal Nature found that twenty of the fifty-four ice shelves studied had been subject […]

Guess the Explorer!

  Haven’t done this for awhile, so here are five interesting but obscure facts about an Antarctic explorer.  See if you can guess which one… This explorer– 1. Went to the Antarctic with both Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton. 2. Served aboard HMS Edinburgh. 3.Went on five separate expeditions to Antarctica but died peacefully in […]

Where do cosmic rays come from?

News from the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station: Results of a recent experiment there on the origin of cosmic rays has contradicted 15 years of predictions.  The electrically charged particles making up cosmic rays bombard the earth all the time, but scientists do not fully understand how they are created.  One […]

“Back to the Bad News” or “How Fox Makes Sh*t Up”

Today I want to tell you about the media’s reporting of a paper, published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, by Professor Zunli Lu of Syracuse University. The study, “An ikaite record of late Holocene climate at the Antarctic Peninsula,” finds that ikaite crystals have a useful property for studying past climactic conditions.  The crystals […]

Good News!

Normally we get only bad news about the environment so I thought I would report about a hopeful story I read in the Calgary Herald.  Using satellite mapping technology, a group of British Antarctic Survey scientists has found that there are more than twice the number of Emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteriis) on the frozen continent than previously […]


In an effort to find out what is happening under the West Antarctic ice sheet, scientists have installed a network of seismographs, appropriately called “Polenet.”  The brutal conditions have made such research difficult in the past, as delicate equipment normally only lasts a few months.  But improvements in battery life and data storage mean the […]


Thanks to Kimberly at Sub-Antarctic Science for a great idea for today’s blog post–a denizen of the Southern Ocean I wasn’t familiar with. I’m talking about Ningen, humanoid creatures of the deep!  Ningen literally means “human” in Japanese. Urban legend?  Maybe, but check out this screen capture from Google Maps– Ningen are 20 to 3o […]

Guess the Explorer…

Another Sunday!  Last week’s explorer was Sir Ranulph Fiennes.  Here are this week’s clues: 1. Turned down a chance to go on Robert Scott’s ill-fated South Pole expedition and charted Antarctica’s coastline instead. 2. Sole survivor of a party of three men who were collecting geological samples from the Antarctic coast..  Our explorer walked 100 […]