Mine activities are carried out mainly in the station, since I have to install the new spectrometric system that will work in parallel with the old GASCOD for at least 1 year. With the help of the logistic staff I was able to setup the new observational system in a few days and the photos show the result.
For kindly concession of the Italian Program for Antarctic Research (PNRA)
The zenith sky scattered radiation is collected by the VELOD (VErtical LOoking Device) installed on the roof of the container, and with an optical fibre the signal reaches the main body of the system (the spectrometer) and after the dispersion of the light beam with a holographic grating the spectrum is collected by the CCD sensor and stored in the PC. These data will be then processed with the Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy in order to retrieve infos regarding the total column and vertical distribution of some atmospheric tracers as ozone and nitrogen, bromine, iodine and chlorine oxides. All these last compounds are involved in the heterogeneous ozone chemical cycles.
I was hoping to arrive here, to start to make measurements immediately, instead, as usual, mechanical, optical and electronic problems arise. Practically I had to perform once more the optical alignment and calibration of the spectrometer and I solved some troubles in the (please believe me, it was very complicated) electronic unit managing the optical and mechanical unit.
Now I have 'only' to make the necessary modifications to the management software I develop along the last years, for similar (but not equal) equipments.
For kindly concession of PNRA
In the evening, we had the opportunity to try Antarctica as it is!!!!! At 22:30 the power supplies of the station were turned off in order to assembly a new part of the electric net, and we stay in the "dark" for one night. Effectively the main problem was not the dark (the photo was taken at 2 on the 'night'), but the temperature. Due to a very strong wind (called katabatic wind) the temperatures in the station fall down from 18º of about 5º in a very short time. fortunately the energy came back at 4 in the morning.
'Sunrise' at the Mario Zucchelli Station at about 3:00 in the 'morning'. It's not a real sunrise since the sun never went below the horizon, but it was only hide for some minutes by the rock peak
Daniele Bortoli, Mario Zucchelli Station, Antártica, 16-01-2013
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