What is the Midnight Sun? And where can you experience it?

The Summer Solstice, coming up on 21 June this year, is the longest day of the year and it is also the time when the Midnight Sun peaks.

What is the midnight sun?

The Midnight Sun is a natural phenomenon that occurs during summer in some parts north of the Arctic Circle and south of the Antarctic Circle – where the sun remains visible at midnight local time.

During the polar summer, the sun stays above the horizon 24 hours a day – meaning no sunrise or sunset, just constant daylight. The Midnight Sun, often referred to as Polar Day, is caused by the seasonal tilt of the Earth toward the sun during the Arctic or Antarctic summer.

At the Midnight Sun’s peak on 21 June, the sun does move position in the sky, but it does not dip completely below the horizon. After the Summer Solstice, the daylight gradually gets shorter by a few minutes each day, the sunsets get earlier and earlier, until the far north returns once again to winter darkness and northern lights season.

Where can you experience the Midnight Sun?

The Midnight Sun can be experienced in the high-Arctic island of Svalbard, the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Canada, Greenland and Iceland. It can also be seen in the northern parts of Alaska and Russia.

The Midnight Sun occurs for the longest period in the high-Arctic island archipelago of Svalbard, where the sun doesn’t set between 20 April and 22 August. In Iceland the Midnight Sun occurs over the height of summer.

What does the Midnight Sun look like?

The Midnight Sun can be a different experience from place to place. For instance, in Longyearbyen on Svalbard, midnight can be like noon on a midsummer day, while at Nordkapp (North Cape) the light is suggestive of early evening, with warm, golden tones over the sea. Further south, though, where the sun peeks between the mountain tops and is only just above the horizon at midnight, more reddish and pinkish tones appear. In Greenland, stark white daylight turns into warm evening hues, but still the sun remains in plain sight for one perpetual day.

Those who have visited the regions where the Midnight Sun occurs say that it is more about experiencing daylight at night, as in some places it may rain and the sun is clouded over.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com


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