“Oh! The Sun has risen from the West today” is a proverb used when something most unexpected happens. But it is true that there is a place where the Sun never rises from the East. It sounds unbelievable. The place is……
Hold on… … there are more curious characteristics of this place.
It is an accepted fact that Sun rises every morning and the moon every night. However this is a place where Sun and Moon rise and set only once a year!
Standing here, one can see the stars, sun and moon spinning around one “point” straight over one’s head, in the sky. They appear at different locations in the sky as the day progresses but are visible 24 hours (depending on the season).
Not just that, you can go only South from this place! How would a compass behave at this place? It stays confused with the needle going around in circles!
This place is happy with just a latitude as a coordinate, it has no longitude. The local time of any place on earth is determined by its longitude, such that the time of the day is more-or-less synchronised with the position of the sun in the sky. Since there is no longitude, does this place have no time zone either? It is not synchronized with GMT and no time zone has been assigned to it. Use any time zone that is convenient, no questions asked!
At this place, there is no earth underneath but still one can walk along and dance around. There is no land within a radius of about 700 kilometers and 5,000 meters underneath. “Land” is a sheet of floating ice here.
This unique place is The North Pole, 90°N.
We all have learned that the earth spins on an imaginary axis, once a day. North Pole is the point where this axis intersects the earth’s northern most surface. The North Pole is the point from which all the meridians begin, thus no longitude!
In this world, where every country is fighting for a chip of land, this is a vast area which is not governed by any one country in the world. No country owns the North Pole or the region of the Arctic Ocean surrounding it. It is surrounded by five countries Norway, Russia, Canada, USA (Alaska), Denmark (Greenland). Their authority is limited to a 370 km around their coasts. The area beyond that, up till North Pole is administered by the International Seabed Authority.
It doesn’t even have an official marker for the position, as the ice moves constantly. The position is detected by a specific compass.
North Pole experiences only night for half the year, and has day time continuously for the other half depending on whether the pole is facing towards or away from the Sun.
The Geographical North Pole at 90 deg N is different from the Magnetic North Pole. The latter is a wandering location and moves about 45km every year.
I visited this place with my wife, Pushpa in 2009 and experienced all of the above. I stayed there for about a day on the floating ice and was told by the time I left the place, that I have moved a few kilometers since I landed. Unique in its truest sense, the experience is irreplaceable for us! We were the proud first Indians to land on North Pole, 90°N.
Let us not get restricted to popular travel destinations only, opt for unusual. Though looks difficult, they give unique knowledge and unique pleasure.