Overwintering in the Antarctic

Scientists at the South Pole hold up German and French flags.

Scientists at the South Pole show their allegiances during the World Cup. Robert Schwarz hide caption

itoggle caption Robert Schwarz
The southern auroras in the Antarctic.

The southern auroras put on a show in the sky. Robert Schwarz hide caption

itoggle caption Robert Schwarz

When NPR reporters go hunting for stories, they'll search just about anywhere. Recently Science Reporter David Kestenbaum spoke to Denis Barkats, a scientist in the Antarctic. Denis is overwintering at an international base at the South Pole. (The notion that there's a meaningful difference between winter and summer in the Antarctic reminds me of what Dorothy Parker said when hearing that President Coolidge had died: "How can they tell?")

Anyway, Denis said overwintering in the Antarctic is a real wild time. And I don't believe that for a minute. But it's important for him to be there to maintain a telescope. Denis sent some photos and we'd like to share them, especially because he says the staff likes to download NPR podcasts to keep from going insane through the darkness and cold. The flags — French and German — have to do, of course, with staff allegiances in the World Cup. Along with the flags, there's a photo of the southern auroras — a gorgeous sight, especially when viewed from a warm place.

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