Saturday, December 12, 2009

South Pole Foucault Pendulum

It is stinkin’ cold at the South Pole and the air is very thin. After hiking up 5 flights of stairs at 11,000 feet we had to stop and rest. While we were resting we got cold soaked from the extreme temperature so we had to go back down and warm up. While the "beer can" is enclosed it is not heated and its ambient temperature is the same as the outside temperature. For our second attempt we walked up the stairs a bit more slowly and rested for a shorter period of time and were able to begin construction on the pendulum. After several trips up and down five flights of stairs the pendulum wire was finally suspended and the rest of the construction could be performed at floor level. Even then we had to go in and warm up approximately every 10 minutes. On average, it takes 6 times longer to do things at the South Pole than it does anywhere else in the world.

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