Antarctica

Advice to a RMIT design student

Hi Darryn

Thought this might be of interest!  I will supply Wayne with
some fact sheets and reference material on Aurora Australis,
possibly some slides and a suggested reading list.  However,
seeing his RMIT project relates to Casey - would you please
address his 'other questions about light ......, and the
golden hour'.

Cheers, Ray

From:
Organization:  rmit
To:
Date:          Thu, 12 Sep 1996 17:08:35 +11EST
Subject:       rmit thesis student

dear ray,
 sorry about the late reply,...regarding my thesis topic

ANTARCTIC LIGHT

OVERALL IM COMPLETEING A DESIGN THESIS, WHICH IS LOOKING AT DESIGNING A SPACE OF EXCESS, AN INTERIOR JOLLY FOLLY, A GLASS HOUSE WHICH HOUSES ARTIFICIAL FIELDS OF HELIOTROPES (PLANTS THAT FOLLOW THE SUN)

LOOKING AT THE COLLISION OF THE EXTREME NATURAL CONDITIONS WHICH EXIST IN COLLISION WITH AN ARTIFICIAL ENVIRONMENT, A PLACE WERE THE USE OF LIGHT (NATURAL /AND ARTIFICIAL) ARE MY MAJOR CONCERN A PLACE WERE THE TRANSIENT POPULATION OF ANTARTICANS CAN GREEN OUT ,ESCAPE THE MIDNIGHT SUN, OR ALTERNATIVELY,THE USE OF ARTIFICIAL LIGHT IN WINTER , A SENSORIUM OF THE FOLLOWING,

TEMPERATURE

SMELL

COLOUR

SIGHT

LIGHT

ONE COMPONENT OF MY DESIGN IS AN AURORA VIEWING PLATFORM, FOR COCKTAIL PARTIES NEAR CASEY STATION, ON THE WAY TO LAW DOME BASIC QUESTIONS ARE, OF THE AURORA,

1. ARE THEY PREDICTABLE, WITHIN A TIME FRAME ?

2. HOW LONG DO THEY LAST ?

3. ARE THEY SEASONAL ,

4. DO THEY OCCUR DURING THE DAY ?

5 HOW FAR AWAY ARE THEY FROM THE GROUND IE, THE ATOMSPHERE ?

6.  WHAT IS THE  "VIBRATION" , IM UNSURE WHETHER THIS THE RIGHT WORD !,IN TERMS OF THE VISIBLE SPECTRUM,

7.IS THE COLOUR PRODUCED PREDICTABLE FROM FROM THE SOLAR FLARE WHEN IT HITS THE IONOSPHERE?

8. ARE THERE ANY BASIC DIAGRAMS OF THE PHENOMENA YOU CAN EMAIL ME ?

9.WHAT PART OF THE VISIBLE SPECTRUM IS SEEN THE MOST DOWN SOUTH

10. ARE THEY ATTRACTED TO THE SOUTH GEOMAGNETEIC POLE ? OR WHAT PART OF THE MERIDIANS ARE THET MOST PRONE TO BE ACTIVATED ?

11. WHAT IS THE GENARAL SCALE OR SIZE, HOW AS A PROFESSIONAL DO YOU DESGRIBE THIS , IE IN CHARTS ETC, METERES SQUARE

12. IS THERE ANY WAY I CAN GET HOLD OF SLIDE FILM OF AURORAS THAT HAVE BEEN TAKEN DOWN THERE OR SOMEONE MELBOURNE YOU KNOW WHO MAY HAVE SOME ?

13. ARE THERE ANY GOOD BOOKS ON THE AURORA IN TERMS OF THE VISUAL IMAGE, I NEED A REALLY GOOD SOUCE OF HIGH QUALITY IMAGES

OTHER QUESTIONS ABOUT LIGHT HAVE YOU ACTUAAL;LY BEEN THER?

COULD YOU HELP ME WITH ANY ONE WHO HAS OBSERVATIONAL INFO IN TERMS OF WHAT THEY REMEMBER ON THE QUALITY OF VISIBLE LIGHT AT MIDWINTER, SUNSET, SUNRISE, THE LUMINOSITY OF THE MOON ON THE GROUND, THE MIDNIGHT SUN , MIDDAY, MORNING , DAWN DUSK,  IN TERMS OF COLOUR? IE PINK OR YELLOW.

IN MOVIE MAKING THERE IS A TERM CALLED THE GOLDEN HOUR, WHICH IS WHEN FILMAKERS USE THIS TIME OF DAY FOR SHOOTING AS THE QUALITY OF LIGHT IS AMAZING IT IS USUALLY HALF AN HOUR BEFORE AND AFTER SUNSET, DOES THE GOLDEN HOUR EXIST DOWN THER  AT A CETRAIN TIME OF THE YEAR ?

 I WOULD REALLY APRECIATE ANY INFORMATION AND HELP AS I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO FIND OUT THESE FEW FACTS ETC ,

YOURS FAITHFULLY, WAYNE MOSKWA

Date: Tue, 1 Oct 1996 15:47:27 +0800
From: Darryn Schneider
To: MOSKWA
Subject: re: rmit thesis student

WAYNE,

Your idea of a glass house for relaxation near Casey is some idea. Before I go on and talk about the aurora, I think I should point out some matters of practicality.

PARTIES NEAR CASEY STATION, ON THE WAY TO LAW DOME

Nothing is permenant on the Dome. It is an area of high snow accumulation and buildings are soon buried and crushed. The American Glacio station, S2 (near Dome Summit South DSS) built in 1958?, is now 15 meters below surface. The DDS buildings are on their way to being buried, and are showing signs of being crushed by the surrounding snow build up.

Once one is out of sight of the coast, on the way to the dome, there is little else going for it. The view is white in all directions. Also the weather is consistently bad. The support needed to get very far inland would mean it would be seldom visited. Any living plant would need daily attention, and that could only be given on station. The harshness of the enviroment would mean no automatic system could be relied upon, and would need to be check daily, as the hydroponics on station are. Construction and maintenance would be expensive in the extreme!

Also as the station population over winter is less than 20, such acomplex system would be a big drain on resources, and additionalpeople (minimum plumber, and allrounder say) would be needed. Sincethere is limited room on station and science must take precedence,and over the summer the station is running at its limit, this wouldalso make it impractiable. Maybe if the station as a whole had beenplanned with this as in integral part???

One last practical point is that since it would be on station forpractical reasons, for aurora viewing it would have to compete withlight pollution from station outside lights, which have lots ofpressure to stay on for OHS reasons.

About aurora and light at Casey.

I'm not an expert in the field, and my explanation might be contested.But here goes a brief explanation.

Ionised particles (they have a net charge through the removal of oneor more electrons) and can only move along magnetic field lines. they willremain stationary until some force is applied to them. The magneticfield lines of the earth, moving from the equator to the magnetic poles(on which the field converges), most of the time goes up then backdown in the opposite hemisphere (like a bar magnet). Eventually there willbe field lines that join up with those of the suns magnetic field, andfurther still towards the magnetic pole they are stretched out to space. Its the fieldlines that go to the sun, and when traced on the earths surface issome rough cirular shape centered around the magnetic poles, thatcan gain charged particles, and thus produce an aurora.

The energy, and thus force, needed to make the particles stream downthe field lines and into the atmosphere, can be gained from the energyreleased from the relaxation of the earths magnetic field after it isstretched by the solar wind. The more energy released the larger theradius of the circle of the auroral belt (further from the magneticpoles).

1. ARE THEY PREDICTABLE, WITHIN A TIME FRAME ?

No not really. When the magnetic field is active there is a higherprobability. Magetic substorms, which produce good aurora are aninstability, and thus not predictable in the sense that it will happenat a certain hour. You could put some sort of probability on it.

2. HOW LONG DO THEY LAST ?

A non active one may last most of the night, but be very uninterestingto look at (also very low on the horizon at Casey). While an actvieone may last 15 minutes.

3. ARE THEY SEASONAL ,

It is not possible to see them when it is light, thus summer is out.While they also aren't visible through cloud, which rules out a lotof winter.

The sun has an 11 year activity (sunspot) cycle, which influencesaurora.

4. DO THEY OCCUR DURING THE DAY ?

Yes, but again can't be seen.

5 HOW FAR AWAY ARE THEY FROM THE GROUND IE, THE ATOMSPHERE ?

Low limit around 90-100km to upper limit, say very high??.

6.  WHAT IS THE  "VIBRATION" , IM UNSURE WHETHER THIS THE RIGHT WORD !,INTERMS OF THE VISIBLE SPECTRUM,

The colour is produced through excitation of oxygen atoms and molecules,which have a emission specra of green, for weak excitation, to reds forstronger (and lower altitude) excitation.

7.IS THE COLOUR PRODUCED PREDICTABLE FROM FROM THE SOLAR FLARE WHEN IT HITSTHE IONOSPHERE?

The higher the energy, the more colour. The catch is that the auroral belt is also at a greater radius, and thus Casey is well inside of it, and thus will not see it. Casey is very magnetically south, and thus a poor place for viewing auroras.

In 10 months at Casey I have only seen a few auroras with colour. While I have seen many weak auroras, the intensity is such that eyes don't respond to the colour, and they are a grey smudge.

While the auroras I have seen at Casey have been wonderful, it is not one of its high points. It is just too far magnetically south.

COULD YOU HELP ME WITH ANY ONE WHO HAS OBSERVATIONAL INFO IN TERMS OF WHAT THEY REMEMBER ON THE QUALITY OF VISIBLE LIGHT AT MIDWINTER, SUNSET, SUNRISE, THE LUMINOSITY OF THE MOON ON THE GROUND, THE MIDNIGHT SUN , MIDDAY, MORNING , DAWN DUSK,  IN TERMS OF COLOUR? IE PINK OR YELLOW.

Over mid winter we had almost 2 months of overcast conditions. My lasting memory of it will be of 4 hours of dull grey, often snowing and windy. Surface detail on snow is almost zero, and difficult to travel over. An almost complete lack of natural colour, and very low contrast.

The moon is the same as anywhere else in that the light intensity is at such a low level that eyes don't see colour.

IN MOVIE MAKING THERE IS A TERM CALLED THE GOLDEN HOUR, WHICH IS WHENFILMAKERS USE THIS TIME OF DAY FOR SHOOTING AS THE QUALITY OF LIGHT IS AMAZING IT IS USUALLY HALFAN HOUR BEFORE AND AFTER SUNSET, DOES THE GOLDEN HOUR EXIST DOWN THER  AT A CETRAIN TIME OFTHE YEAR ?

Of course during summer there is no real dark. As Casey is just north of the antarctic cirlce, the sun does set almost always. But due to atmospheric refraction, there are a few days when it does only touch the horizon. With the sun grazing the horizon, at a low angle, the time spent at the point when it is diffused is much greater than at mid latitudes. Of course the reason this time is liked by film makers is the light is not harsh, thus the exposure of shade and light are not widely seperated, a problem for the low dynamic range of film. Its is also the time when the lighting can easily be changed or controlled artificially.

I would conclude by saying that the natural light, and associated phenomena at Casey are like nothing else I have seen. Being behind the Vanderford Glacier (at Haupt Nunatak) with low sunlight filtering through drift, with deep blue sky above, false horizons moving all over the place as the wind gusts change, was a surreal experience. The enviroment in Antarctica is overwhelmingly dominant. No artifical experience could hold its own against it.

Some green during the winter months is very nice. I often go and stand around in the humid hydroponics container. Combining that with glass to the outside world would be very technically difficult. I have images of sunflowers ringing their own necks in summer, and people trying to glue alfoil to the inside in winter to reflect back light.

I would be very interested in seeing your final 'thesis'. I would also like to know the name of the course that you are doing, and who the lecturer, or supervisor is.

I hope this of some help. If you use this information in your work, please reference it appropriately, and check facts with the many published works in the field.

Yours, Darryn

To: darryn_sch
From: MOSKWA@
Subject: rmit thesis student

dear ray,

THANK YOU FOR YOU HELP , AND PACKAGES I HAVE JUST FINISHED, IT WAS AMAZING INFORMATION ,

I'LL TRY TO EMAIL MY THESIS TO YOU, NOW, I GOT A HIGH DISTINCTION FOR A 28 CREDIT POINT SUBJECT THAT WAS DESIGN,

ALSO I WON AN AWARD FROM THE "DESIGN INSITUTE OF AUSTRALIA' IT WAS THE ONLY AWARD THEY GAVE OUT MY DEPARTMENT TO FINAL YEAR STUDENTS , I ACTUALLY TOPPED MY YEAR, ! THE DETAILS OF THE AWRD ARE YET TO BE POSTED OUT AND ALL THE SPECIFICS BY THE ORGANISATION

I'LL SEND A COPY OF DRAWINGS AND PHOTOS OF THE DESIGNED SPACES, OF MY PROJECT

WHEN I HAVE SOME CASH, (TYPICAL STUDENT !) THE SLIDES WERE FANTASTIC ILL SEND THEM BACK ASAP WITH FORM  ETC,

CHEERS WRITE SOON, WAYNE MOSKWA

Schneider family web pages at kulgun.net
Antarctica | Family History | Science
Shop Photos | Atmospheric Optics | Plasma Physics

Copyright © Darryn Schneider for all content and images unless otherwise noted