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The North Pole - Where Is It Really?

4 July, 2013

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MessageToEagle.com - The North Pole is very difficult and expensive for scientists to study because it sits on drifting ice.

In 2012, the Suomi NPP satellite took the first photo ever of the entire North Pole as seen from space.

This is a unique photo showing for the first time the entire Artic region.

We have previously only been able to view parts of the North Pole, but in this very special version of the Blue Marble image much more can be seen.

Fifteen orbits of the recently launched Suomi NPP satellite provided the VIIRS instrument enough time (and longitude) to gather the pixels for this synthesized view of Earth showing the Arctic, Europe, and Asia.
Credit: NASA/GSFC/Suomi NPP

However, the precise location of the North Pole has never been determined. The North Pole is the northernmost point on Earth. It is the precise point of the intersection of the Earth's axis and the Earth's surface. The Earth's axis wobbles slightly. This causes the exact location of the North Polethe intersection of the axis and the Earth's surface to wobble along with it. The precise location of the intersection at any given moment is called the "instantaneous pole."

However, the precise location of the North Pole has never been determined. The North Pole is the northernmost point on Earth. It is the precise point of the intersection of the Earth's axis and the Earth's surface. The Earth's axis wobbles slightly. This causes the exact location of the North Polethe intersection of the axis and the Earth's surface to wobble along with it. The precise location of the intersection at any given moment is called the "instantaneous pole."

According to National Geographic's Encyclopedia "from the North Pole, all directions are south. Its latitude is 90 degrees north, and all lines of longitude meet there (as well as at the South Pole, on the opposite end of the Earth). Polaris, the current North Star, sits almost motionless in the sky above the pole, making it an excellent fixed point to use in celestial navigation in the Northern Hemisphere.

The North Pole sits in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, on water that is almost always covered with ice. The ice is about 2-3 meters (6-10 feet) thick. The depth of the ocean at the North Pole is more than 4,000 meters (13,123 feet).

The Canadian territory of Nunavut lies closest to the North Pole. Greenland, the world's largest island and an independent country within the Kingdom of Denmark, is also close to the pole."

"The most consistent research of the North Pole has come from manned drifting research stations. Russia sends out a drifting station almost every year, all named "NP" (for North Pole). Drifting stations monitor the ice pack, temperature, sea depth, currents, weather conditions, and marine biology of the North Pole."

No Time at the Poles

Time is calculated using longitude. For instance, when the sun seems directly overhead, the local time is about noon. However, all lines of longitude meet at the poles, and the sun is only overhead twice a year (at the equinoxes.) For this reason, scientists and explorers at the poles record time-related data using whatever time zone they want.

Flight Time

Airlines flying from North America and Europe to Asia can save time and costly fuel by flying over the North Pole instead of in a straight line around the widening globe. This only became possible after Russia allowed commercial airliners to fly over Siberia in the early 1990s.

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See also:
NASA's Storm Probes Begin To Explore One Of The Most Hazardous Regions Of Space - The Van Allen Belts!

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