Halley Research Station

- 75.583055555556 - 26.566388888889Koordinaten: 75 ° 34 '59 "S, 26 ° 33 ' 59 " W

The Halley Station on the Brunt Ice Shelf in the Weddell Sea near the Coats Land, Ostantarktika belonging Caird Coast is a British research station that the study of the Earth's atmosphere is devoted to. Here foregone measurements led in 1985 to the discovery of the ozone hole.


Halley was founded in 1956 for the International Geophysical Year 1957-1958 by an expedition of the Royal Society. The bay in which the station was to be built, was named after the astronomer Edmond Halley, Halley Bay. The name was changed in 1977 at Halley since the original bay had disappeared because of changes in the ice shelf.

So far, five Halley stations have been built. The first four have all been buried and compressed under snow accumulations until they were uninhabitable. Different construction methods have been tried - from unprotected wood cabins to steel tunnels. Halley V has steel platforms that are raised annually to keep them above the snow and on which the main building is erected. A competition for the design of a new station was launched by the British Antarctic Survey On June 29, 2004.


Temperatures seldom rise above zero at Halley, in midsummer, the temperatures are around -10 ° C, in the depths of winter, up to -50 ° C can be achieved.

The wind blows mainly from the east. Usually raise strong winds on the dusty surface of the snow, making visibility is limited to a few meters.

One of the reasons for choosing this location was the location of the station south of the auroral circle. About Halley frequent appearances of the aurora australis occur. This can be observed most easily during the 105 days on which the sun never rises above the horizon.


During the winter usually are 16 people on the station, the winter there. In the summer months, from early November to late December, that number rises to about 70.

In articles about Antarctic stations is often not clear that very few are residents of the station scientists. Most technicians are required to keep the station and the experiment running. The wintering team at Halley consists of a chief, a doctor, mechanic, electrician, various electronic and a heating and ventilation engineer.

One of the overwintering is appointed and sworn in as a magistrate every year to the base commander. This office he also exercises his normal duties for a small salary supplement.

In 1996 a woman spends the winter at Halley for the first time. Since then, each year at least two women in Halley wintered.

Life on the ward

The main event each year is the arrival of the ship in late December. It is currently the RRS Ernest Shackleton, before 1999 it was the RRS Bransfield. The unloading of the freight usually takes a week for a 24 - hour workday, with a fleet of snowcats freight carriage about 15 km inland pulls.

After that, life is hectic, because a lot of work needs to be done in the short summer period. This includes both scientific activities as well as major maintenance such as lifting platforms. During this time the ship again proceeds to fulfill other tasks.

Beginning of February comes the ship one last time Halley. The cargo is loaded, the summer staff and the outgoing overwinterers go on board, and the remaining overwintering see their last physical connection to the outside world in the distance sail away.

The next event in the calendar is Sunset Station, the last day on which the sun rises over the horizon. This is usually celebrated with a barbecue. The oldest overwinterers lowers the tattered remains of the Union Jack, the British flag.

Midwinter was celebrated in the Antarctic in the days of the early explorers and Halley held a week of events, culminating in the great Mittwinterfestmahl. The BBC World Service has made a special broadcast with news from home and with a piece of music that has chosen each station team. Traditionally, the overwintering run naked around the building, although it is allowed to wear hats, gloves and boots.

At sunrise, the return of the sun, if the weather permits, another barbecue organized and a new flag is raised by the recent winter visitors.