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Antarctic Astronomy

Astronomers and planetary scientists conduct extensive research in Antarctica. They operate telescopes at the south pole, launch instruments on balloons, and hunt for meteorites on the Antarctic ice. The balloon missions, launched in southern summer, take advantage of the 24-hour daylight to power solar cells and maintain a steady altitude without the need to drop ballast. They climb to about 130,000 feet, and can remain aloft for weeks or months. They follow circular wind currents that circle the continent, allowing the payload to drop back on the Antarctic ice at the end of a mission. Scientists from the United States and other countries conduct weeks-long searches for meteorites on the ice. Few terrestrial rocks are found atop the ice fields deep in Antarctica, so there's a good probability that any rocks on the ice fell from space.

Radio Programs

Better Hunting “Blood hounds” for meteorite hunters April 28, 2023

Getting an Upgrade Catching more ghostly particles February 6, 2023

Icy Rocks Picking up rocks from the ice December 2, 2019

Big Balloons Big balloons for the Antarctic December 1, 2019

Circling Antarctica  A busy summer in Antarctica December 4, 2018

Hunting Space Rocks II Extreme rock hunting December 6, 2017

Hunting Space Rocks Rock hunting on ice December 5, 2017

Tiger Hunting A tiger chases around the south pole December 4, 2017

Featured Images

The IceCube neutrino observatory under a night sky at the south pole

Ready to Expand February 6, 2023

microscopic dust grain, taking core samples

Tiny Visitors September 27, 2021

Ready for Launch December 4, 2018

A meteorite on the Antarctic ice

Rock Hunting December 6, 2017

A balloon is prepared for launch from Antarctica

Super Tiger December 4, 2017