While the sun has officially returned to the skies above Davis research station thick cloud has prevented the expeditioners from seeing it, with the forecast suggesting it will be a few more days before the team can enjoy its golden glow!
The sun last set in the vicinity of Davis station on 2 June and remained below the horizon for close to 38 days.
Despite a no show from the guest of honour (the sun!) the 16 wintering expeditioners welcomed its official return with an indoor bbq on Sunday, 10 July.
The sun remained above the horizon for 45 minutes. This will increase by an extra 25 each day initially, and then by nine minutes, up until Midsummer’s Day on 21 December when it won’t set at all.
During a field trip to Whoop Whoop last week (located 40 km from Davis and at 595 m) four lucky expeditioners caught an early glimpse of the sun thanks to the higher altitude and clear skies.
As the most southern of Australia’s research stations, Davis loses the sun for the longest period. Expeditioners at Mawson were without sunshine for 16 days and welcomed its return on 29 June.
The sky doesn’t remain pitch black at either station, with expeditioners experiencing ‘Civil Twilight’, caused by the sun sitting 1 degree below the horizon and illuminating the sky and some clouds.
The Antarctic Circle (located at 66°33′ S) marks the point beyond which the sun remains completely below the horizon on Midwinter’s Day (20 June) and completely above the horizon on Midsummer’s Day (21 December). The closer you are to the South Pole, the longer the periods of winter darkness and summer daylight. Casey station is located outside the Antarctic Circle and doesn’t experience full darkness or daylight.