February 11, 2012 South Pole Station Antarctica
Temperature -37.1 F
Gnome Population: 6
The Kern Gnome has come to visit the South Pole! The German based “Kern Precision Scales” had a pretty cool idea: send their little gnome around the world with a specific scale to see if there are any changes in weight due to slight variances in Earth’s gravity. He came from Peru and is off to the bottom of a 2 mile deep mine next! His weight of 309.82g is a little heavier than at other sites, potentially because despite our elevation we’re slightly closer to the Earth’s core. The earth bulges slightly around the equator, causing the diameter measured from Pole to Pole to be ever so slightly smaller. Track the project at: GnomeExperiment.com
The little Gnome showed up last week and sparked a station interest in Gnomes. Unfortunately he is not the first Gnome here at the South Pole…here are a few of the others around the Station:
He’s had quite the adventure here and has made many friends. Alas, it’s been a short visit, but time to go – the Station closes for winter next week!
3 responses to “Gnomes!”
He’s heavier for two reasons:
First, there’s the shape of the earth, as you point out. At the pole he’s closer to the center of the earth; but that would only make about a 1% difference in his weight.
But at the equator, he’s being thrown around the planet at 1000 miles per hour, while at the pole he’s just pirouetting once a day. That makes about a 5% difference in weight.
You’re right in theory, but it’s not 5%. The greatest difference on Earth is 0.5%. And 0.3% can be explained by rotation, 0.2% explained by the shape of the earth.
Perhaps he fattened himself up for the colder weather? That plus all the thermals he is wearing under his regular togs.