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
Apple agrees deal with Visa on contactless payments
Life & Style blogs
Is Apple's iCloud safe after leak of Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities' nude photos?
36-year-old skeleton of dead baby found inside Indian woman
Porn film production 'must stop in Los Angeles' after actor tests positive for HIV
Anal sex study reveals climate of 'coercion'
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- 1 Is Apple's iCloud safe after leak of Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities' nude photos?
- 2 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 3 Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...
£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: You will not be expected to hav...
£45000 - £53000 Per Annum plus bonus plus package: The Green Recruitment Compa...