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Why do the hands on clocks go "clockwise?" Seems like a circular definition, but if you looked closely at sundials in the northern hemisphere, you'd notice that the shadow of the sun moves around the sundial in a "clockwise" direction. This was adopted by clock-makers and became the standard we know today.
In the southern hemisphere, the sun's shadow moves around the dial in the opposite direction, so if clocks had been invented there, our watches would move the other way. UC Berkeley astrophysicist Bill Holzapfel takes us on a tour of the South Pole Telescope and explains how it is unlocking the secrets of the Universe. We speak with glaciologists Slawek Tulaczyk and Jake Walter, who study ice-sheet dynamics. Join us as we talk to scientists working with IceCube, a neutrino telescope buried in the ice under the South Pole. On August 1, 2008, a total solar eclipse occurred as the new moon moved directly between the sun and the earth. The moon's umbral shadow fell on parts of Canada, Greenland, the Arctic Ocean, Russia, Mongolia, and China. The Exploratorium's eclipse expedition team (our fifth!) Webcast the eclipse live from the remote Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwestern China near the Mongolian border. Scientist working on the South Pole Telescope explain data collection, focusing on the telescope's receiver, a precise instrument with a thousand "eyes" pointed to the distant universe. Learn about the various projects and teams of people working on the South Pole Telescope. What have scientists learned from the South Pole Telescope so far, and what work needs to be done this year as the scientists fine-tune this amazing new piece of technology? What is dark energy? Cosmologist Rocky Kolb explains how the South Pole Telescope will help us understand the properties and nature of this mysterious force. The South Pole Telescope captured its first light on Feb. 16, 2007! Join Exploratorium host Mary Miller as she talks with scientists at the South Pole and finds out more about life at the Pole.