Friday/ a very, very long night ahead

Spring has arrived here in the northern hemisphere, and it was a beautiful day in Seattle today (51 °F/ 10°C).  I had time tonight to check out more pictures from the Big Bang research that had been done with the BICEP2 radio telescope at the South Pole in Antarctica. And no, BICEP is not a muscle – it’s short for Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarisation.   The equipment measures gravitational waves caused by the Big Bang.  Check out the spectacular pictures of BICEP2 at this link.

Be sure to also read the Wikipedia entry for the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.  The sun has just set there, and there is a six month night ahead!   I hope those scientists stationed there have sun lamps, to stop them from going absolutely bananas.  The South Pole is the only place on land where this happens (the North Pole is in the sea).

BICEP2 Twilight
The BICEP2 telescope at twilight, which occurs only twice a year at the South Pole. The MAPO observatory (home of the Keck Array telescope) and the South Pole station can be seen in the background. (Steffen Richter, Harvard University)

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