PS116 - Weekly Report No. 3 | 26 November - 7 December 2018

Satellite orbits and laser beams

[07. December 2018] 

On our way further south, we sailed on various courses and with different speeds.

Several times, we had to match with a new satellites’ orbit to compare the data with measurements taken by a radiosonde released at the meeting point of Polarstern and the satellite. Additionally we had to sail on other tracks compared to the years before to collect new sounding data from the sea floor.

In the last days we collected loads of plankton by hand net when the vessel’s speed was reduced. Afterwards the underway CTD was launched to measure conductivity, temperature and water depth at a cruising speed of around five knots. Another very important project of the cruise was the test of a “depressor”, which is intended for future towing of measuring devices below the ice. Thanks to good design and preparation in the scientific workshop from AWI in Bremerhaven, only to test runs at different speeds and wire lengths were necessary. Further en route measurements are ongoing muon measurements to detect cosmic rays as well as aerosol and gas component measurements.

Thanks to warm air and very few rain showers, many evenings can be spend on the open decks, always illuminated by the green light of the laser coming out of the container of the institute for tropospheric research (TROPOS). The laser is pointing towards the sky to detect and calculate particulate matter in the atmosphere. Those of us, which are not sitting on the helicopter deck, take a bath in the small pool erected on the open deck. Because Polarstern is mostly sailing in polar waters, almost everybody is enjoying this opportunity and change. A student who is testing his small underwater robot, called “Seebiber”, only uses the pool inside of the vessel. Because of good sea conditions and reduced winds, the “Seebiber” could finally be tested in the open water from a zodiac and directly from the ship’s working deck. Pictures that were taken during the cruise of the underwater robot reflect the incredibly blue color of the Atlantic ocean. All of us who have to leave in Cape Town would love to stay on board a little longer. We hope that this cruise will not end.


With kind regards from scientists and crew on board of RV Polarstern

Bjela König, cruise leader



Bjela König

Scientific Coordination

Rainer Knust
Rainer Knust


Sanne Bochert
Sanne Bochert