It is late winter in Antarctica now, and the months of darkness will soon be brightening. Research teams from around the world are preparing to head south soon, taking advantage of the (relatively) warm season to come. Gathered below are images of the Antarctic landscape and research facilities, and some of the scientific work taking place there.
View from the Brazilian Navy's oceanographic ship Ary Rongel as it goes through the Drake Passage on its way to Antarctica on March 2, 2014.
Vanderlei Almeida / AFP / Getty
Palmer Station on May 9, 2015. Palmer is located on a protected harbor on the southwestern coast of Anvers Island off the Antarctica Peninsula. It is the only U.S. Antarctic station north of the Antarctic Circle. Palmer is well-located for biological studies of birds, seals, and other components of the marine ecosystem.
Julian Race / National Science Foundation
The aurora australis provides a dramatic backdrop to a Scott tent at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station on July 14, 2009.
Patrick Cullis / National Science Foundation
South Pole “fuelie” Rose Meyer gets pretty cold when performing her job fueling airplanes at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station on October 26, 2010. The warmest temperature recorded that week at Pole was -34.8 degrees Fahrenheit (-37.1 degrees Celsius) and the coldest temperature was -58.4 degrees Fahrenheit (-50.2 degrees Celsius).
Kristina 'Kricket' Scheerer / National Science Foundation
The Peltier Channel separates Doumer and Wiencke Islands in the Palmer Archipelago. It was named for Jean Peltier, a noted French physicist. Photographed on May 17, 2012.
Janice O'Reilly / National Science Foundation
A Weddell seal sports a video data recorder that scientists use to create a three-dimensional map of its movement in the water as it hunts for prey. Researchers hope to learn more about the seals’ hunting behavior during late-winter darkness and how they find their breathing holes in the ice.
Randall Davis / National Science Foundation
A large iceberg floats off the coast of Antarctica, seen on January 1, 2010.
An Adelie penguin, photographed on January 3, 2009.
TSgt Timothy Russer, USAF / National Science Foundation
Red lights help maintenance workers make routine repairs on the South Pole Telescope (SPT) on August 19, 2010.
Daniel Luong-Van / National Science Foundation
Nacreous clouds over the NASA Radome, a weatherproof structure housing a 10-meter antenna. Nacreous clouds, or polar stratospheric clouds, form high in the dry stratosphere, catching sunlight well after dusk and displaying brilliant colors.
An aurora with rainbow colors illuminates the night sky near McMurdo Station on July 15, 2012.
Deven Stross / National Science Foundation
The Chilean Navy’s ship Aquiles moves alongside the Hurd Peninsula, seen from Livingston Island in Antarctica’s South Shetland Islands archipelago on January 25, 2015. This is also the place where a hole in the ozone layer, from man-made refrigerants and aerosols, parks for a couple months when sunlight creeps back to Antarctica in August. It triggers a chemical reaction that destroys ozone molecules, causing a hole that peaks in September and then closes with warmer weather in November.
Natacha Pisarenko / AP
The Brazilian Comandante Ferraz Antarctic Station, seen from the Brazilian Navy's oceanographic ship Ary Rongel on March 7, 2014.
Vanderlei Almeida / AFP / Getty
Long-Term Ecological Research field team member Anna Bramucci throws hot water into the air to watch it turn to ice crystals and vapor on a -25 degrees Fahrenheit (-32 degrees Celsius) day at Lake Fryxell field camp in Taylor Valley, Victoria Land, on March 30, 2008.
Chris Kannen / National Science Foundation
A whale fossil is seen near Brazil’s Commandante Ferraz Antarctic Station, located in Admiralty Bay, King George Island, Antarctica, on November 25, 2008.
Paulo Whitaker / Reuters
An iceberg as viewed through a fata morgana, a mirage caused by a thermal inversion, on February 28, 2015
Jack Green / National Science Foundation
A killer whale swims amid floating ice in the Ross Sea. Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Southwest Fisheries Science Center are studying the whales to determine if there are three separate species of Antarctic killer whales.
Donald LeRoi / NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center
The moon setting behind Bonaparte Point, Anvers Island, on September 2, 2009.
Ken Keenan / National Science Foundation
Adelie penguins walk along ice at Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay, East Antarctica, in this picture taken on December 31, 2009.
Pauline Askin / Reuters
An iceberg near Palmer Station as viewed in the dim twilight of the few hours of sunlight on April 20, 2010.
Robin Solfisburg / National Science Foundation
A leopard seal captures a gentoo penguin near Palmer Station on April 4, 2009.
Sean Bonnette / National Science Foundation
The moon shines over McMurdo Station in June 2014, during the 24-hour darkness of winter.
Andrew Smith / National Science Foundation
Adelie penguins stand atop ice near the French station at Dumont d’Urville in East Antarctica on January 22, 2010.
Pauline Askin / Reuters
A humpback whale near Palmer Station on January 31, 2010.
Peter Rejcek / National Science Foundation
A mirage-like illusion called a fata morgana, usually seen in a narrow band right above the horizon, distorts Ivan the Terra Bus as it approaches Ross Island. The Royal Society Range is in the distance. The green buildings make up Scott Base, a New Zealand research facility. Photographed on November 27, 2012.
Reed Scherer / National Science Foundation
Gale winds blow across the ocean near Elephant Island on December 28, 2010. Original here.