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74. Antarcticas Still Stars

04 Apr

FACT: Antarctica is a land of a great many contrasts. We know it for the inhospitable temperature, the lumpy ice fields and the ferocious winds which tear across its surface. However it also hosts what is officially the ‘Calmest spot on Earth‘.

Near the centre of the continent is the Antarctic plateau that is raised up beyond most winds. Upon it resides a location known only as Ridge A. It is remarkable for the calm, here there is practically never any weather, the air is too dry for snow, hail or any other kind of precipitation and there is never any significant wind. All of these properties plus a night that can last 3 months make it the perfect place for astronomical observations.

How calm is it exactly?

The calm is extended vertically up into the atmosphere. The vast masses of air above Ridge A are so calm that there is practically no wind disturbance. So still is it that the stars don’t even twinkle. Something seen nowhere else on earth.

This is all fortunate as scientists hope to set up a 100 metre high building set up there in the next ten or so years.

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2011 in Trivia

 

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