The sun set for the final time here at Davis station on 2 June at 1:58pm, just twenty four minutes after the sunrise which was at 1:34pm. This was a cause for a celebratory BBQ lunch, then the majority of expeditioners went up to the heli-hut viewing platform to officially see the sun for the last time. Unfortunately it was cloudy and only the tip of the sun rose to illuminate the clouds above. There would be no sunshine for us but it was well worth braving the −20°C outside.
We will see the sun again in thirty eight days, on 10 July at 1:31pm, but only for 45 minutes. Our only source of any bright light is our hydroponics system, which is a great escape from the dark days, and the emergency power house which has had new LED lights fitted (caution: sunglasses required). On 21 June, the winter solstice, the sun traces a line around the Arctic Circle and it will be our darkest day with only a few hours of 'civil twilight'.
To help illuminate the night sky, the aurora has been putting on a spectacular display that lasted three days! Due to a coronal hole on the sun, the solar winds caused an electromagnetic disturbance to our atmosphere. At 2 am on Monday morning I rang the aurora hotline, waking up my fellow aurora hunting expeditioners to be greeted with a very fast moving aurora overhead. Then again at 1 am on Tuesday morning there was a large fast moving band overhead. It was not for the faint hearted, as the temperatures outside were between −27 and −30°C. I would describe it as a pianist playing fast tempo music of light with no sound, the beams moving rapidly and swirling. Not much sleep was acquired during this time.
With our midwinter approaching we took some group photos for our invite which will be sent out to the other Antarctic stations, family and friends. A reminder that anyone that wants to attend must provide their own transport to Antarctica. We’ll supply the food, entertainment and a selection of many rooms to sleep! Good luck!