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Jul. 17, 2012

Cool Off with a Virtual Antarctic Tour

by Charles Bergquist

Click to enlarge images
If you're in much of the Lower 48, you've been feeling the heat. Forget the beach house or summer cabin at the lake -- we invite you to kick back and relax in Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton's hut.
 
Or how about taking a stroll around the Cape Royds Adélie Penguin Rookery?
 
Or checking out the scenery outside of Robert Falcon Scott’s supply hut?
 
Or getting some viewing time at the South Pole Telescope?
 
All these panoramic images are part of a Google effort to provide Street View imagery of the Antarctic. (The Polar Geospatial Center at the University of Minnesota and the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust helped with the project.) The photos were captured using a lightweight tripod camera with a fisheye lens -- the usual Google Street View camera cars and tricycles aren't exactly rated for polar conditions.  Google will be posting more of the images to their World Wonders site for public viewing.
 
If these tours haven't brought down your temperature, never fear, we've planned more polar coverage to help you beat the heat.  On Friday, we'll get an update from the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) meeting underway this week in Portland, Oregon. We'll hear about lots of polar science programs, from ice sheet research to studies of Antarctic wildlife. Be sure to tune in and chill out.
 
Plus, SCAR organizers invited people who live and work in the Antarctic region to submit their “coolest” photographs for an international competition and exhibition. We’ll post some of the winners on our site later in the week, so check back.

 

 

About Charles Bergquist

Charles reminds Ira when it's time to stop talking, helps wrangle this Web site, and produces segments for the radio program. His favorite stories involve chemistry, inventions, nanotechnology, and shiny things with blinking lights.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

Science Friday® is produced by the Science Friday Initiative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Science Friday® and SciFri® are registered service marks of Science Friday, Inc. Site design by Pentagram; engineering by Mediapolis.

 

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