SOUTH POLE AURORA VIDEO: Imagine living and working in darkness, 24 hours a day for 6 months out of every year. Robert Schwarz does just that. He’s a professional telescope operator for the Keck Telescope Array at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. And his hobby is astrophotography. For the past 14 winters, he has been taking pictures of the south polar night, witnessing scenes unlike anyplace else on Earth. His work is highlighted in a newly-released video entitled “South Pole | Night In Antarctica.” The video is highlighted on today’s edition of: Spaceweather.com
A longtime contributor to Spaceweather.com, Robert Schwarz is a pioneer in cold-weather astrophotography. At the South Pole, temperatures routinely drop below -70o C. Modern DSLR cameras are not made for such temperatures. LCD displays freeze instantly, mirror mechanisms get stuck, batteries fail, and time-lapse sequences often end after only 30 or 40 frames. To mitigate these problems, Robert has developed heated camera housings and motorized trackers with insulation, allowing his optics to follow the pirouette of the stars overhead even in deep Antarctic cold.
Cinematographers Christoph Malin and Martin Heck created the video using a year’s worth of Schwarz’s unique footage. They’re looking forward to more. Right now, Robert is traveling to the South Pole for a record-setting 15th “overwinter,” and of course he’s taking his cameras. Stay tuned!