Science

This Is The New South Pole

There’s a new Geographic South Pole Marker, a pretty shiny metal pole that marks the actual geographic pole. Since the ice sheet that covers Antarctica moves, the previous marker moves along — about 10m from its real position. So the scientists from the Amundsen-Scott base celebrate each New Year by unveiling a new pole in the actual geographic pole position.

This year, the pole’s pole was made by Derek Aboltins. Jeffrey Donenfeld took these photos of the marker. It includes text, markings, and seven brass circles on a copper inlay, which show the positions of the planets as viewed from the South Pole on January 1, 2013.

Talking at the unveiling ceremony, Aboltins explained its meaning:

[It] represents the earth sciences done from here, as we reach out to understand our planet. The large brass star represents astronomy and astrophysics, as it extends out past our solar system in the quest for knowledge.

In the centre of the marker (in brass) we have the sun, sunset and moon, with the Southern Cross, including the pointers. If you look carefully, the small inscription above the moon reads, ‘Accomplishment & Modesty.’ This was a reference to honour Neil Armstrong, as he passed away when I was making this section with the moon.

For those of you who still think Pluto should be a planet, you’ll find it included underneath, just to keep everyone happy. Bring back Pluto, I say!

According to Donenfeld, the “previous 2012 South Pole marker was removed from its old location, and a flag was placed in its stead to mark the previous site.” [The Antarctic Sun via Jeffrey Donenfeld via Fogonazos (in Spanish)]

A view of the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station, an American scientific research station by the geographic South Pole.

Picture: Jeffrey Donenfeld/Flickr


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