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Posts published in “RV Sonne”

Equator station: between North and South, yesterday and today

Wo sind wir eigentlich? Bild vom Bordcomputer, das in allen Laboren live verfolgt werden kann. Der rote Punkt markiert die aktuelle Position von SONNE. Foto von Rohan Henkel (AG Sensorsysteme ICBM, Wilhemshaven; hier an Bord gehört er zum “Bio-optics” Team).
Where are we? Screenshot of the bord computer display that can be followed in all laboratories. The red dot marks the current position of Sonne. Photo by Rohan Henkel (Marine Sensor Systems ICBM, Wilhemshaven; on board member of the “bio-optics” team).

We have finally reached the equator – the boundary between the northern and southern hemispheres at 0 N and 0 South. But we aren’t just anywhere on the equator: we are exactly at the point at which one step in the right direction can turn today into yesterday, and visa versa. Our station is exactly on the international date line between 180 W and 180 E.

Approaching the equator – and Neptune is waiting!

We are rapidly approaching the equator. Tomorrow, we will begin our first twenty-four hour continuous station, in order to sample the water column for an entire day/night cycle. We will have a very long work-day! Someone else is also waiting for us: Neptune, the ruler of the ocean…

End of the Pacific radio-silence

Futuna klein I want to give blog visitors an explanation for the long pause between the last blog entries. We are going through such a remote region of the Pacific that we only have limited (and sporadic) internet connectivity.

Samples from the bottom of the ocean: “Octopus Prime” in action

Proben vom Meeresboden in 4200 Metern Wassertiefe. Erster Tiefsee-Einsatz des MUCs namens

We eagerly awaited these samples, the first from the very bottom of the ocean to reach the deck. These samples were especially exciting because the bottom of the ocean at this station is at 4200 m water depth; moreover, it was our very first use of this sampler in the deep sea, which the ICBM just recently acquired.

The color of the Pacific

Bestimmung der Meeresfarbe: Farb-Palette der Forel-Ule Skala
Determining ocean color: Color scale of Forel-Ule.

On this research expedition we are using two classical methods to characterize the surface water of the ocean. These methods were developed in the 19th century, so they do not require advanced technology or power supplies.

The ocean is so blue

So blau ist das Meer mitten im Pazifik!
This is the blue of the Pacific Ocean!

We are now in the middle of the ocean, surrounded by blue water. And finally we have also collected our first samples. That was a very exciting moment: the Niskin bottles (water samplers) came on board for the first time with our eagerly-anticipated water.

Finally at sea!

Das Forschungsschiff SONNE verlässt Auckland in Neuseeland mit Ziel Dutch Harbor in Alaska.
The research vessel Sonne is leaving Auckland in New Zealand with destination Dutch Harbor in Alaska.

After months of intensive preparation and anticipation of our cruise aboard the Sonne, we are finally at sea. Yesterday morning at 9 a.m. we left Auckland harbor. We have now travelled almost 600 km; the ocean floor is 3950 m below us.

The countdown is running

Blickfang vor der Skyline von Auckland (Neuseeland): Das Forschungsschiff SONNE
Eye-catcher in front of the skyline of Auckland (New Zealand): The research vessel Sonne.

It is almost time – tomorrow we go on board. On May 1st, our research expedition across the Pacific will begin: 34 days from New Zealand to Alaska.