2008 Blog Archive

Check Back Daily December 1, 2009, South Pole Station –
Tom Gaisser

Introducing the IceTop Team

I would like to introduce the IceTop team at the South Pole this season and say just a little bit about what they are doing. At the moment James Roth, Chris Elliott and Hermann Kolanoski are there preparing our tanks for deployment. James and Chris are both technicians in the Bartol Research Institute in the UD Department of Physics and Astronomy. Hermann is a professor from the Humboldt University in Berlin. They sent me the picture below, which was taken inside the IceTop workshop at the South Pole.


L-R: Hermann Kolanoski, James Roth, Chris Elliott in the IceTop Weatherport (a.k.a. Purple Palace).

The photo, taken by James, shows one of our optical modules on the workbench being prepared for mounting. The building is sometimes called the “Purple Palace” because of the filtering effect of the blue tent material on the light. It is one of about 20 buildings in the IceCube drill camp (officially Seasonal Equipment Site, SES).

The next picture is one I took last season of Hermann when we were getting ready to fill a tank with water for freezing. In the background you see the SES. The blue IceTop tent is in the middle. Most of the buildings support drilling the deep holes of IceCube.


The plan this season is to drill 18 to 20 holes and to deploy 28 more IceTop tanks. The tanks are set out in pairs with two IceTop tanks on the surface associated with each deep cable of IceCube.


Chris Elliott took this pictures of two tanks just set in place a few days ago.

The whole IceCube operation involves a total of 50 people, 30 professional drillers and 20 scientists, technicians and engineers. In addition, there is a large support staff who make the South Pole station work. Particularly important for IceTop are the surveyor, who lays out the tank locations and then measures that exact tank locations, and the heavy equipment operator who makes the trenches in which the tanks are placed. Of course, we all depend on the Air Force cargo pilots who fly us and our cargo in, the cooks who feed us, the engineers who run the heating plant to keep us warm and the computer and microwave operators who keep us in touch with the world. We will introduce some of these people and activities in future blogs.