Matt Describes the First Sunset

Hi kids,

My co-worker, Dave Hess, has asked me to write a little on the sunsets here in McMurdo, Antarctica. One word - Fantastic, Spectacular, Awesome, Wow! Guess that was more than one word. As the sun rotates in a counter-clockwise direction, each night it sets at a slightly different spot. Prior to the first official sunset on February 21st, there was a minature sunset that lasted about ten minutes when the sun disappeared behind Black Island, which is about 30 kilometers away. Since the location of the sunset changes from day-to-day, the illumination on Mt. Discovery, the Royal Society Mountains, and Mt. Erebus also changes.

The colors reflecting off the mountains and the ice are pinkish-orange, with traces red, blue, and violet. Another man who is staying down for the Winter was here before, and has told me that he has seen the green flash common to what sailors see when the sun sets over the oceans. However, instead of lasting a split-second, it will last several minutes. He said it is the most brilliant bluish-geen that he has ever seen. I am looking forward to seeing thoses colors, myself.

Matt Nelson

Patricia A. Weeg
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