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July 4, 2009

Fourth of July in Antarctica

Happy Independence Day! Midwinter festivities are under way at McMurdo Station
as reported in the Antarctic Sun’s Around the Continent-Research Station Updates
July 2 entry. Celebrations include the annual Midwinter Dinner, dance, photo exhibi-
tion, outdoor run (brrr), and the Fourth of July carnival. Sounds like a blast, minus
the blast of fireworks.


Here’s McMurdo as it appears in the darkness of the Austral winter, which lasts from
late April until August. There are 153 residents at the station now, mostly doing
maintenance, repairs, and preparation for the nearly 1,100 people expected for the
summer research season. The photograph was taken on May 6 by James Walker /
National Science Foundation.

Filed under: Antarctic Research Facilities — mbartalos @ 2:52 pm


  1. This looks like it could be a space station on a different planet. I can imagine the stars in the night sky, which must be ideal for viewing stars. Is there any kind of astronomical observatory in Antarctica?

    Comment by Donovan Rittenbach — July 8, 2009 @ 6:58 am

  2. Yes it seems very much like an extraterrestrial outpost, and just as isolated: there’s no travel in or out of the station during the winter months.

    There are a number of observatories at the South Pole where conditions are ideal for astronomical study. Two of the newest and most exciting are the South Pole Telescope: http://pole.uchicago.edu/
    and IceCube Neutrino Detector: http://icecube.wisc.edu/info/
    Read more about both in my January 16 post! http://bit.ly/LV2009Jan16

    Comment by mbartalos — July 9, 2009 @ 9:47 pm

  3. Stunning photograph.

    Comment by Catherines mom — July 11, 2009 @ 4:20 am

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