A lot of you asked me for pictures of the inside of Halley VI. As I want to shoot good quality pictures, and these take time (and a bit of effort!), I’ve decided to start a new series: Halley VI Interior.
My Pit Room
I’m going to start this cycle with a few shots of my pit room. All pit rooms are located at the very Northern end of the station, in two modules called B1 and B2. Each module has eight pit rooms (all are exactly the same; four of them are on one side of the corridor and the other four on the other side). One of those two modules has three toilets and three showers (this is the second module from the end, called B1) while the other one (the Northern-most one, B2) has no toilets, no showers but it has a quiet room which can be used as a library or a reading place. I’m in the Northern-most module and I like it this way — it’s still not too far to the toilets or showers, but we do have the quiet room!
My pit room is quite small, but very comfy and very cosy and I really like it! I have plenty of storage space (two double wardrobes, four massive drawers under my desk top and two more under my bunk and three shelves on the wall). I actually have some spare space and whenever the new winterers arrive, I can collapse all my stuff into even less space!
We also have what’s called SAD lamps on the walls at each bunk. These are meant to simulate daylight and come on gradually at set time to wake us up gently. All I can say to this is it’s a load of bollocks and it doesn’t really work for me, although it does also provide a reading light, which you can dim to just a soft, warm glow and that is really nice!
At the Southern end of the station, the last two modules are called Science Modules (H1 and H2, respectively; don’t ask me why). This is where most of the Very Important Science is done.
The Southern-most module (H2) has a field preparation room at the very end (which has its own door leading to the platform on the outside, with a winch that allows to lower or lift heavy equipment; the platform currently is some 4-5 metres off the ground), electronics workshop, light mechanical workshop, lower observation room, upper observation room (along with its own observation deck) and a server room.
The second module from the Southern end (H1) is where my office is, as well as a balloon preparation room, wet laboratory, storage room, west science lab (which actually is just a small room where the BARREL scientists used to work from) and a toilet.
Upper Observation Deck
This is probably one of the best areas of the station. We have almost a 360° view around the station from here, which we need to be able to run synoptic and aircraft met observations.
This is also where one of the coolest instruments is installed – the Dobson Spectrometer, which is used to measure the amount of ozone in the atmosphere. By the way, it was this instrument (or, more precisely, this type of the instrument) that was used here, in Halley, to discover the Ozone hole!
Ballon Room is where we prepare the met balloons. These are launched every day from Halley and the idea is that all weather stations worldwide participating in this program launch their balloons so that they all reach the altitude of 100hPa at 12:00 UTC. To do that, we need to launch ours around 10:50 UTC (Halley operates on UTC time zone), and this requires about an hour’s worth of balloon preparation.
We use 350g and 500g balloons (depending on the temperature and the amount of Helium we need to pump into them), to lift a met sonde which measures temperature, pressure, humidity and also has a GPS tracker. All the data measured by the sonde are sent down in real time to our receiving station and are encoded and submitted to the Met Office. The telemetry data is sent to us at one second intervals.
It takes about 1 hour 10 minutes for the balloon to reach the 100hPa altitude (these times vary and depend again, on the temperatures, wind, the amount of Helium put in the balloon, etc) and around 2 hours to burst and start falling to the ground. They can anywhere between 26 and 30 km altitude during their flight.
This is where the electronics engineers do their magic. We have a separate room with all sorts of toys and components. I don’t know much about any of that, other than the guys are putting bits and pieces of everything together and come up with all sorts of magic devices that can measure stuff.
Finally, my office.
Today, which is when I took the pictures, for most of the time there was nobody in the Science Module, as one person (our Met Babe — Richard) was on his winter trip, the other person (one of the Engineers, William) was on Gash and the other Engineer, Octavian was out doing some work. That’s why the office looks dark and empty.
It normally is a little bit more lively, although not massively, which is fine — I like peace and quiet.
Well, I hope you enjoyed part one of the tour of the station. I’ll try to shoot some more pictures over the coming days and put them here too, but for now — see you later!