The northernmost part of the earth, the final frontier, the home of Santa Claus – sometimes the Arctic seems to exist more as a state of mind than a real place.

It can be a little tricky to wrap your head around, but basically the Arctic starts from the North Pole – the literal ‘top’ of the world – and extends out in all directions to the edges of the Arctic Circle. Remember the five circles of latitude from school? Put it this way: if Earth was an orange and you sliced parallel lines across it – east to west – the Arctic would (roughly) be the slice right at the top. This line of latitude shifts with the earth’s orbit, so consequently the Arctic Circle isn’t at a fixed position.

While Antarctica is its own continent, the Arctic is made up of the Arctic Ocean and nearby seas, plus territory that belongs to Canada, Russia, the USA, Denmark (Greenland), Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland. You can find out more about the countries that have claims on the Arctic here.

Click here to read more Arctic FAQs

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