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World Studies » Countries & Continents » Arctic, Antarctica

U.S. South Pole Station

offers a multimedia look at research underway on earth's coldest, highest, driest, and windiest continent -- and the least hospitable to human life. Find out what makes the South Pole a unique place for studying astronomy, air and ozone, seismic science, off-world simulations, and life sciences. See videos, panoramas, photos, and stories about the station and its crew, instruments, and forbidding environs. (National Science Foundation)

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Interesting Fact:

Sitting at a fixed point while the Earth rotates, telescopes at the pole can track any celestial object for long periods of time from the same elevation in the sky. For many years, the equipment there was used to make long, continuous solar observations -- some lasting more than 100 hours. The extremely dry, cold air is also perfectly suited for observing the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation -- the faint light signature left by the Big Bang that brought the universe into being nearly 14 billion years ago.
A full moon and a 25-second exposure makes the South Pole station visible in a July 2005 image during the 6-month-long Antarctic night.

A long night,...

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