This Day in Tech History

On This Day . . .

Where Time Merges


January 16, 1908: Shackleton Finds Magnetic South Pole

On January 16, 1909, Ernest Shackleton traveled as far south as he could go. He and 3 companions made a southern march which established a record “Farthest South”; latitude 88° 23’S, 180 km from the South Pole by far the closest convergence up to that time.




Shackleton’s Story


1. South Geographic Pole 2. South Magnetic Pole (2007) 3. South Geomagnetic Pole (2005) 4. South Pole of Inaccessibility

1. South Geographic Pole
2. South Magnetic Pole (2007)
3. South Geomagnetic Pole (2005)
4. South Pole of Inaccessibility

The South Pole is the southernmost point on the surface of the Earth and lies on the continent of Antarctica. All directions face north! Because the polar sheet moves at a rate of about 10 meters per year the Geographic South is moved during a ceremony on New Years Day.

Geographic South Pole

Geographic South Pole

The South Magnetic Pole is also a wandering point where the geomagnetic field lines are directed vertically upwards. As of 2005 it was calculated to lie at:  64°31′48″S 137°51′36″E

. . . placing it off the coast of Antarctica. The pole is moving northwest by about 10 to 15 kilometers per year. Its current distance from the actual Geographic South Pole is approximately 2860km (about 1777 miles).


Times merges

For most places on earth local time is determined by longitude, but at the South Pole the sun rises and sets only once per year. All lines of longitude, and hence all times zones, converge. As a matter of practical convenience New Zealand time is used.


Flora and fauna

In 2000 it was reported that microbes had been detected living in the South Pole ice. Guess that means no palm trees.


The South Pole receives no sunlight at all from May to July.

In summer (September – March) the sun is continuously above the horizon and appears to move in a counter-clockwise circle.

Temperatures at the South Pole are much lower than the North Pole primarily because the South is at a higher altitude.

Average high during the summer is -15° F.

Winter average remains steady around -72°F.

The highest temperature ever recorded was 9°F.

The lowest was -117°F in 1982.

The lowest temperature ever recorded on earth was Vostok Station, also in Antarctica, at


Dawn at the South Pole

Dawn at the South Pole


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