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I would like details on observations (since North Pole is not possible, approximately around the North Pole) which tell us for how long are planets visible from the North Pole?

I understand that during the 6 months of daylight, the sunlight would obscure the sight of other planets. Despite that for what time period (years, months or days) are planets visible from the North Pole?

And how is this time period justified?


Hypothetical example: observations show that Jupiter is visible from the North Pole for 1 month in a year. I don’t want the answer to be based on common logic calculating the period and saying that the observation should be this. Rather, the period as per actual observations, and then if necessary, justified by calculations.

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    $\begingroup$ It isn't like a lot of people have spent time at the North Pole doing observations. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 20:47
  • $\begingroup$ Anything with a declination (of date) greater than or equal to 0 will be visible from the North pole. You can use JPL Horizons to compute the times each is visible: ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/horizons/app.html# $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 3:16
  • $\begingroup$ As far as I can tell the northernmost observatory is the Greenland Telescope at Thule en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenland_Telescope at 76 degrees north (but it is a radio telescope). There are apparently plans for a telescope in Eureka, Nunavut, 80 degrees north. Generally astronomical observations at the north pole are rather ad hoc. However, the South Pole Telescope (SPT) is located at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica and more or less exactly at the south pole. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 8:25

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Take Jupiter for example. It is currently (as of Oct 2023) visible from the North pole continuously (it is circumpolar). The sun has now set at the North Pole, and right now Jupiter is above the equator (ie the Earth is tilted towards Jupiter).

By the end of the first week of March next year the Sun will be getting close to rising and Jupiter will be steadily lost in the twilight (but it is hard to give an exact date on which it will become invisible, since this depends on visual acuity)

Jupiter will head towards a conjunction with the sun over the Summer of 2024. It will be above the horizon but not visible, the sun will move away South, and Jupiter will become visible again in September 2024. It will be visible continuously during the winter.

This pattern will repeat over next few years with Jupiter being visible during the winter. But it will be getting very gradually lower in the sky, until December 2027, when it will finally drop below the horizon. It will remain below the horizon for the next six years or so, finally returning to the polar skies in 2033 but not easily above the horizon until the end of 2034.

Other planets will have their own patterns of visibility, depending on how fast they orbit the sun. These can be conveniently investigated by planitarium software, which can simulate the view from any location on the planet.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is what I thought. And wanted to know whether observations satisfy this. That’s why the note below- observations, and then justified by whatever reason, rather than us first inferring this and then saying that this should be the observation $\endgroup$
    – Adiyarkku
    Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 2:46

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