Focus: Less than zero: A skate round the North Pole
Sunday 13 December 1998
16th CENTURY European sailors venture into the Arctic Ocean for the first time.
1897 Fridtjof Nansen gets to within 236 miles of the Pole aboard the Fram. Nansen writes: "The moon transforms all of this ice world into a fairyland."
1905 Northwest Passage found by the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who six years later became the first man to reach the South Pole.
1909 American explorer Robert Edwin Peary is generally credited with having led the first expedition to reach the North Pole - at the age of 53. With temperatures falling to -50C, Peary writes: "The bitter wind burned our faces so that they cracked. The air was as keen and bitter as frozen steel." On his return he learns that his rival, Frederick Cook, is claiming to have reached the pole a year earlier. After an investigation, Congress rules in favour of Peary.
1926 Americans Richard Byrd and Floyd Bennett fly to the North Pole in a Fokker monoplane. Italian Umberto Nobile flies the airship Norge across the pole.
1954 USS Nautilus becomes the first submarine to reach the North Pole.
1977 Russian icebreaker Arktika reaches pole after forcing her way through ice 13ft thick.
Warmer than the South Pole, the average mid-summer temperature of the North Pole is 0C.
The sun does not set for six months during the summer. Then the pole spends six months in total darkness.
The Arctic ice-pack is moved by ocean currents, as proved by George De Long when his ship Jeanette drifted 310 miles in 21 months in 1880/81.
The North Magnetic Pole wanders as the Earth's magnetic field slowly changes. Today it is near Ellef Ringnes Island, Canada, 870 miles from the true North Pole
The Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, are caused by electrical solar discharges in the upper atmosphere and are visible at some time on every clear dark night within 20 degrees of the magnetic pole.
With other continents explored, the North Pole was alluded to by writers such as Mary Shelley as the site of the Garden of Eden.
Compiled by Nicholas Fearn
Life & Style blogs
Britain's kitchens so filthy that they present a health risk, says new research
Surgeon backs 'good death' plans - and reveals his own
NHS hit by stealth cuts of £2bn as tariffs received for medical procedures are reduced
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter
Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Why this father didn’t hide his daughter’s heroin overdose in her obituary
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
- 5 The most powerful passports in the world
£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...