Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Still in Alaska

Well I never thought I'd be up here this long. At least I'm learning a lot from Hans! We came close to launching the other night even with all the remote sights clouded in. But Poker was clear and they were planning to launch, except the substorm never really got started properly. There was a good bit of aurora all night long up in Kaktovik, seen as weird green light through the clouds. And there were several negative Bz spikes showing, but just little baby ones, small releases of energy but nothing to write home about. We waited and waited until 2:45am, but no substorm. Kristina must be going a little nuts down there in Poker. On the nights where we had great events, there was either no optics at Poker or they were down for high winds. Then when the atmospheric wind settles down, we're not getting the solar activity. The geophysical and meteorological muses are not communicating well. Kristina Lynch, by the way, is the PI (principal investigator) of this mission so it's all on her shoulders. She is also one of my new personal heroes since she is a successful, smart woman in the same field as me, but she's also quite chill and friendly and interesting. Sometimes I meet women scientists and they are either over-compensating for being a woman in a predominantly male field so they are bitchy and stuck up or they are the most awkward, asocial people ever. So hooray for awesome women scientists everywhere.

I had to get out the other day - this place is suffocating. Anytime I feel like things in my life are really really getting to me, I go walk somewhere alone and try to find a little bit of beauty out there in the world. So here are some pretty pictures I found that day:

The ripples of snow look like sand dunes. The wind that creates them is constant here.

The observatory is the closer building, with the base in the background. The snow fences help(?) keep the snow drifts from getting too unruly near the base. At least that's the theory, but they still have to plow practically every day.


  1. Really have enjoyed the blog, feels like I got to be a fly on the wall. The pixs are great and I want more. Auras please.....Keeping my fingers crossed for the sun & wind to work together for your launch. Guess NH will seem warm after this..... Love you, Jeanne

  2. Some time you will have to post pictures of the aurora. Its one of the few natural spectacles that is very high up on my list to go out of my way to see. Try not to let the polar bears eat you!

    - B -