A major portion of today’s population lives in places where the Sun rises and sets every day. You are probably quite comfortable with experiencing 12 hours of the day and 12 hours of the night, which is what millions do because of the Earth rotating the Sun. However, you’d be surprised to know that there are some places on this very Earth where there’s no sunlight for 24 hours without a break, and places where there’s no night time, only day for 24 hours, sometimes weeks and months on, on an end. People live in such places around the world and have grown quite accustomed to this phenomenon in their daily lives. Some aren’t able to stand it and migrate to other places, whereas some cherish it and celebrate the sunrise or sunset after days and weeks.
Truly, nature on planet Earth has its own aura and beauty, something that can only be experienced and understood, and never changed to suit what people wish it to be. There must be some point in your years where you’d wish that you hope that that day or that night never ends. Well, that’d be an understatement if you were living in one of these cold, chilly regions where you’d be completely saturated by the sun for up to 3 or 6 months, and then deprived of it. ‘The Midnight Sun’ is what denotes this phenomenon, where the sun doesn’t set for a period of time, and the opposite phenomenon where it actually does set and doesn’t rise for a similar period is called ‘Polar Night’. Generally, this phenomenon occurs in the north of the Arctic, in their local summer months and to the south of the Antarctic Circle.
The concept of Midnight Sun translates into what’s known as the sun does not set for several weeks or consecutive months. As a result of this, that particular region receives unfaltering sunlight at all times during the day and is completely a natural phenomenon affecting all the countries in the specific region. This occurs because the axes of the Earth gets exposed to the Sun, causing the extreme regions lying on the surfaces of the pole experiencing the Midnight Sun. This might be tough to imagine, but there are actually countries you can go to, to experience this phenomenon by yourself, as part of your trip or a vacation.
Norway is often referred to as the land of the Midnight Sun. It is situated in the Arctic Circle, a region infamous for this phenomenon, where the sun doesn’t disappear from the sky at night for days, stretching into weeks and months. The sun rises in the month of May and from thereon till late July, for a period of 76 days, it never sets. Bright sunlight engulfs the entirety of this region for around 21 hours a day. In Svalbard, Norway, the same phenomenon can be observed from April 10th to August 23rd with the sun shining on brightly. If you’re even in Norway, you’ll get to experience the Midnight sun, and also get a peek of the Northern Lights before your visit’s over.
Canada is the world’s second largest country, with parts of it extending to the lower part of the Antarctic Circle. All throughout the year, there are several parts of Canada which are covered with Snow and a frigid weather. As such, there are plenty of Northwest Territories, places like Inuvik where you can experience the Canadian Midnight Sun. The sun here shines for around 50 days of their summer, making for a scenic route and place for the tourists, and an annoyance to the locals. If you’re in Canada during this period of the year, you must go mountaineering, on road trips and of course, for Aurora Viewing which is as much of an astonishing feature as the sun that never sets.
Finland is one country in Europe that’s known for its frigid climate and large, open spaces all over. Referred to as the land of thousand lakes and islands, there are many parts of it that experience the Midnight Sun phenomenon. For up to 73 days during its summers, the sun shines through for all to see and bathe in, up to 20 – 21 hours each day. Apart from most parts of the country, the midnight sun shining above the Arctic Circle briefly dips beyond the horizon before rising again. This basically blurs the boundary between what one can perceive as the dawning day or a dying night, making it appear as if it’s early morning.
Iceland is an Island country much like Great Britain, and it is the second largest one in all of Europe. The people of Iceland, its locals and tourists experience the Midnight Sun time of the year from the days May 10th through July. During this period, the Sun’s directly above the horizon for this particular region, keeping the country basking in Sunlight for up to 90% of the day, every day. Of course, the northern lights are one attraction to Iceland that you can check out if you haven’t before and would love to see an Aurora Borealis up close for your first time. Other than that, you can indulge in various other activities like whale watching, caving, and wildlife watching, hiking, and visiting some of Iceland’s prime attractions.
Normally, there’s not much to do but to adjust and acclimatize oneself to such seasonal effects living in such places. Since these areas attract travellers from all over the world, people find it hard to have a good night’s sleep, having to use sleeping masks and shades. Even locals sometimes have trouble adjusting as they fall prey to mental issues, depression and weird sleeping and activity patterns.
Polar nights consist of a phenomenon that is quite opposite of what one would experience during the Midnight Sun. Under this, many regions near the poles and the Arctic Circle experience no sunlight at all, and instead, are plunged into darkness. Essentially, Polar Nights consist of weeks if not months of dark nights with little to no exposure to sunlight over entire regions, countries or certain parts of it. Again, the alignment of the poles is at work where the extreme regions earlier receiving unfaltering sunlight, suddenly don’t receive any, for a usually long period of time. People living there feel as if they’d not see the sunrise ever again.
Located around 200 Miles north of the Arctic Circle, Tromsø in Norway is one place where you can observe both the phenomena of Midnight Sun and Polar Nights. It’s a place where people experience both of the extreme light variations between winters and summers, with the summers having sunlight for almost all of the days without faltering, and the winters not having any bit of it. Polar Night in Tromsø lasts from November to January, and none of the inhabitants sees a speck of sunlight in their sky, till March rolls in and Midnight Sun’s observed to be approaching again. Despite such harsh conditions, locals seem to acclimatize themselves with the living conditions learn to be cheerful and happy and beat the wintertime blues keeping seasonal depression at bay.
Tromsø is a tiny island city, which is around roughly the same size as Manhattan in America. Approximately 70,000 inhabitants live in Tromsø, which makes it the 2nd – most populated city that exists north of the Arctic Circle. Despite the suburb – feel to the city, surrounded by mountains and fjords, it is a pleasant town with a lot of activity and cultural events. Visiting Tromsø, you can experience Polar nights at your own comfort, and take part in all the cultural events and the celebrations that take place citywide.
Murmansk, located around 1800 km north of the Russian capital Moscow, is the biggest city that exists to the north of the Arctic Circle. Much like Tromsø, Murmansk to experience a period of the Midnight Sun, where they don’t have anything but the sun during day and night. However, unlike Tromsø, the people here are quite reasonably annoyed by the Polar Nights. The final few months of every year experience Polar Nights where they don’t receive any sunlight and the sun never rises, every morning like they’re used to the rest of the year. However, once the Polar Nights can be seen to be coming to an end, the people of Murmansk flock to a place called Solnechnaya Gorka, which means ‘Sunny Hill’. It is here they get the first glimpse of the sun after months, for barely an hour the first time, but this soon starts getting longer. Pretty soon they’ll have sunny days all over again, having tea, dancing and working on their tans.
Facing Polar Nights is a much harder, tougher ordeal than the Midnight Sun. People struggle to do their work on time, remain active and also cheerful from time to time. Regions suffering from consecutive months of polar nights often have populations that are having cases of insomnia, bouts of depression, and not being able to work properly of their own accord. Even the lands are cold and frigid, with some plants sometimes dying because of no photosynthesis and them being able to sustain themselves. Overall, these are the conditions people can have to face and live with due to extreme geographical locations and limitations; these places where the sun never seems to set or seems to never rise.
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