A Day At The North Pole

Note how the sun stays at the same elevation above the horizon. About two dozen people told me today that they are Arctic experts and this is not possible.


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29 Responses to A Day At The North Pole

  1. Stars visible in the daytime. Northern lights visible in the daytime. Weird.

  2. At high summer it should be a very uniform transit around the horizon. But not many days before it varies, eventually dipping below the horizon.

  3. omanuel says:

    Thanks, Steven, for these intriguing images.

    Will Dec 21 be the turning point for weird observations at the pole?

  4. GeoffB says:

    Sun moving right to left = South Pole. Nice video!

  5. Robertv says:

    The Earth’s North Magnetic Pole is actually a magnetic south pole and the Earth’s South Magnetic Pole is a magnetic north pole. The direction of magnetic field lines are defined to emerge from the magnet’s north pole and enter the magnet’s south pole.

  6. Steve Case says:

    Steve, your video is of the South pole, not the North pole. At the North pole the sun would move left to right, not the other way as shown in the video.

    • Scarface says:

      That’s what I thought too. Or the video has been inversed. Nevertheless a great clip!

    • Robertv says:

      The Earth’s North Magnetic Pole is actually a magnetic south pole and the Earth’s South Magnetic Pole is a magnetic north pole. The direction of magnetic field lines are defined to emerge from the magnet’s north pole and enter the magnet’s south pole.

      • Jason Calley says:

        I believe that when magnetism was first being seriously studied, the poles of a magnet were named the “north seeking pole” and the “south seeking pole” for rather obvious reasons. When we say (in speaking of magnets) that they have a “north pole” and a “south pole” we are using a sort of linguistic short-hand for “north seeking pole” and “south seeking pole.” Speaking of the Earth’s field, the geographic area we call the “north magnetic pole” is, in fact a “south seeking pole”. That is why the magnetic fields of the north and south connect to each other.

    • Doesn’t make any difference. It shows the same principle

  7. RMO says:

    Since the sun and moon are each about a half degree wide, the beginning of the video — which appears to be the moon because there is minimal blooming in the camera compared to the disk at the end — shows the field of view to be a little less than ten degrees of the sun/moon path across the sky. Great video.

    • Neal S says:

      I don’t think the moon is at all visible in this sequence. The shadows (or lack thereof) I think indicate that despite the blooming or lack thereof that it is indeed the sun at the beginning of the sequence. My guess would be atmospherics were different by the end of the video and account for different sun appearance then as opposed to the beginning.

  8. At the poles, the axis of rotation is perpendicular to the surface. As a result, the angle of rotation does not change the inclination of the surface with respect to the sun. Therefore, the sun’s height will only be determined by the day of the year and not the hour of the day.

    Or to turn it around … the way they found the North pole, was to take a series of sextant readings and find the location at which the height of the sun did not vary at all (taking account of yearly changes). This is the pole.

    It’s therefore almost the definition of the pole, that it’s the only place where the sun does not change in height through the day.

  9. rah says:

    Any person that knows a thing about dead reckoning navigation understands the difference between the geographic north pole and the magnetic one. The geographic pole is more or less static while the magnetic one migrates over time. That is the reason for declination on maps. The grid system on maps are based on the geographic pole. To dead reckon navigate from one point to another using a compass one needs to know what the magnetic azimuth from the starting point to the destination thus we have LARS (Left Add Right Subtract).

  10. Sparks says:

    For real? Who are these ‘experts’ that said this? lol

  11. ralphcramdo says:

    OMG! Get the suntan lotion! UV will kill you there!!

  12. NavyHusker says:

    Wouldn’t that only be the case on the 2 equinox days (and from an observation of the naked eye point a few days before & after)? Otherwise wouldn’t there be some change in elevation when the axis of rotation is not perpendicular to the orbital plane?

    Also, it would be more difficult to film the sun from the north pole than the south pole as the ice pack could move the camera – at least more than at the south pole – but the point is still the same.

    • It moves in a very slow spiral, with a period of 365 days.

      • Ben Vorlich says:

        The video makes that point very well, it doesn’t matter whether at the North or South pole the effect is the same.

        It’s a pity there isn’t a 3 minute recording of a whole year speeded up, it would make interesting viewing.

        • rah says:

          Doubt the weather would allow that at either pole. Wouldn’t there by significant periods of overcast and precipitation?

        • Sparks says:

          You can view it using most astronomy programs. Redshift is one of my favorites and one of the best. there are some great free ones available like Celestia, I think climateballsologists should take some astronomy classes or at least study the solar system.

  13. lance says:

    Interesting note, while in Eureka NWT (nunuvut now), 1979, Dec 21, we went out onto the fjord and shut off the vehicle lights and adjusted to the darkness, and you could still see a faint glow to the south at mid day….warmed the heart though, as it was a long dark winter.

  14. higley7 says:

    But, the average Arctic land is halfway between the N Pole and the Arctic Circle. Only at the N Pole does it stay in one place. That’s not typical of the average Arctic and thus not typical of the Arctic climate. But do note the low angle, the long path through the atmosphere, and the energy per sq meter will be greatly diminished as well. The albedo is enormous, vastly decreasing energy delivery. On open water, reflectivity is also high at this angle and any realized heating is compensated almost immediately by evaporative cooling from the surface. Solar input is not a major factor in the Arctic. Warm air and water from the lower latitudes cause the majority of any melting.

  15. Centinel2012 says:

    Reblogged this on Centinel2012 and commented:
    With animation everything is possible … lol

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