Manning the NOAA’s research station at the South Pole is a lonely job at the best of times. But when you’re watching the last sunset for half a year, things have to be feeling particularly bleak.

The NOAA’s Jesse Milton describes the base as the “coldest, driest, flattest place you can imagine,” and that’s probably not far off. Temperatures dip below -100F, and wind speeds of 200mph have been recorded.

Why bother staying there at all? Well, the continuous darkness and cold temperatures make it perfect for astronomical observations, while the distance from humanity and sterile icepack make it an ideal site for atmospheric observations.

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During the winter, no planes fly in or out, and a skeleton crew is left to man the station, apparently marathoning all the versions of The Thing. If you want to share in their solitude, the live webcam stays up all winter.

[NOAA]

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