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Encyclopedia > Polheim

Polheim, "Home of the Pole", was Roald Amundsen's name for his camp (the first ever) at the South Pole. He arrived there on December 14, 1911, along with four other members of his expedition. Roald Amundsen Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen (July 16, 1872–June 18, 1928) was a Norwegian explorer of polar regions. ... Location of the South Pole in the Antarctic continent. ...

At the first estimated position of the South Pole, Amundsen declared "So we plant you, dear flag, on the South Pole, and give the plain on which it lies the name King Haakon VII's Plateau."

Due to the historical disputes over the claims of polar explorers prior to Amundsen's expedition, particularly the competing claims of Frederick Cook and Robert Peary to have reached the North Pole first, Amundsen took special care in making his polar observations. Frederick Cook in arctic gear Frederick Cook on South Michigan Avenue in Chicago A photo from Cooks 1909 arctic expedition, which he alleged was taken at or near the North Pole Frederick Albert Cook (June 10, 1865 - 1940) was an American explorer and physician. ... Robert Edwin Peary (May 6, 1856 – February 20, 1920) was an American explorer who is usually credited as the first person, on April 6, 1909, to reach the geographic North Pole. ... A North Pole is the northernmost point on any planet. ...

Approaching the geographical South Pole (or North Pole) the meridians of longitude converge, eventually making a measure of longitude meaningless, as a degree of longitude will become smaller and smaller. At the pole itself, (assuming one has accurate enough instruments), all meridians meet. Amundsen reasoned that the extra effort in obtaining longitude could be saved, and he focused on latitude. Map of Earth showing curved lines of longitude Longitude, sometimes denoted λ, describes the location of a place on Earth east or west of a north-south line called the Prime Meridian. ... Latitude, denoted by the Greek letter φ, gives the location of a place on Earth north or south of the Equator. ...

With the instruments he had, Amundsen estimated that he could determine the position of the pole by no better than a nautical mile. In order to insure that there was no doubt that his expedition had in fact reached the South Pole, he determined to encircle, or "box" the pole.

Three members of the expedition were sent out from the current estimated position of the pole, one continuing on the current expedition track and two at right angles to this direction. Each skier continued 10 miles and erected a spare sledge runner with a black flag and note for Robert Falcon Scott when and if he arrived. (He arrived more than a month later.) The note contained the position to Amundsen's camp. Captain Sir Robert Falcon Scott RN (June 6, 1868 - March 29, 1912) was a British Naval officer and Antarctic explorer. ...

While the skiers erected the encircling markers, Amundsen took altitudes of the sun for fixing his position. Since his theodolite had been damaged, observations were made with a sextant, the sun slowly circling the camp in 24 hours, and never setting. Diagram of an Optical Theodolite. ...

From these calculations, Amundsen determined that their current position was approximately 5.5 miles from the mathematical South Pole point. This point had been "boxed" by the skiers.

On December 17th Amundsen proceeded to his estimate of the true South Pole position, and took additional observations for 24 hours, two men standing watch for each observation, and co-signing each others navigation books. Again, this was to insure that there was no doubt as to the expedition attaining the pole.

From these calculations, it was determined that they were still 1.5 miles from the pole, and two men were sent to erect additional pennants.

Finally, Amundsen added still more pennants to cover the remaining area. In this way, the pole had been boxed three times all told.

On December 18, 1911, Amundsen's expedition left Polheim, leaving behind his reserve tent, along with a letter for Scott and a letter intended for Scott to deliver to King Haakon in the event that Amundsen failed to return.

When Amundsen's calculations were verified, it was found that his final camp lay within 2,500 yards of the mathematical South Pole, a remarkable achievement given the instruments available. In addition, it had been ascertained that expedition member Helmer Hanssen - the expedition members had been skiing in a grid pattern between the 'box' markers - came to within two hundred yards of the mathematical South Pole on one of his runs. Helmer Julius Hanssen (1870-1956) was a Norwegian polar explorer. ...

See also

  • Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station
  • Framheim

  Results from FactBites:
An Account of the Norwegian Antartic Expedition in the "Fram," 1910-1912: Roald Amundsen (Appendix 4: The ... (792 words)
With the help of this we are able to construct for Polheim a field of the same form and extent as that within which the first Polar station must lie.
According to this, Polheim would be assumed to lie one and a half geographical miles, or barely three kilometres, from the South Pole, and certainly not so much as six kilometres from it.
From your verbal statement I learn that Helmer Hanssen and Bjaaland walked four geographical miles from Polheim in the direction taken to be south on the basis of the observations.
Polheim at AllExperts (673 words)
Polheim, "Home of the Pole", was Roald Amundsen's name for his camp (the first ever) at the South Pole.
On December 18 1911, Amundsen's expedition left Polheim, leaving behind his reserve tent, along with a letter for Scott and a letter intended for Scott to deliver to King Haakon in the event that Amundsen failed to return.
Both letters were later found with the bodies of Scott and his companions, and were further proof that Amundsen had attained the pole.
  More results at FactBites »



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