While some cannot imagine a sunny day that lasts for months, it is quite normal for people in many parts of the world. For them, it is a time to stay awake, begin the day earlier than normal, and enjoy all the amazing adventures throughout the day and even into the night. This period also means that time becomes almost inconsequential and the body receives extra energy to stay active. But what exactly is the midnight sun and where does this fascinating phenomenon occur in the world?
It Is A Season Of Endless Sunshine
The midnight sun is a natural occurrence where the sun remains above the horizon for more than 24 hours in certain parts of the earth. Simply put, it is a time of the year when the sun remains visible even during the area's local midnight. This natural phenomenon occurs due to the earth’s tilted rotation on its axis and around the sun. The tilt stands at approximately 23.50 from the vertical which causes part of the earth at the arctic circle and the antarctic circle to become completely exposed to sunlight at certain periods of the year. In the arctic circle, the midnight sun occurs during the summer solstice while it occurs during the winter solstice in the antarctic circle.
One interesting thing about the midnight sun is that it is in different magnitudes. During the day, it is the brightest (obviously) while at night, the sun retains the type of light that characterizes sunsets, thereby making it a mesmerizing sight to behold.
Where Does The Midnight Sun Occur?
The midnight sun occurs in territories located within the arctic circle and the antarctic circle and there is a difference in magnitude within the territories. For the arctic circle, some regions farther from the northernmost parts of these territories do not experience the midnight sun in its entirety like those close enough or located in the northernmost parts and this difference in the magnitude creates unique sights that differ from place to place.
The midnight sun can be seen in the Antarctic circle but this part of the earth is largely uninhabited by humans although some research stations are located there. This, therefore, means that the Arctic Circle is the most popular place to experience the midnight sun as it includes many Nordic countries. The Land of the midnight sun is a title used to identify parts of the world that experience the midnight sun and these are the places to find this unique natural phenomenon.
While many Nordic countries experience the midnight sun, Norway is unarguably the most popular destination to experience this natural phenomenon and it is at its best in the northern parts of the country. In Svalbard - the northernmost part of Norway and Europe, the experience lasts for up to 4 months; beginning from mid-April to late August. Other scenic towns in Norway such as Tromsø, Kirkenes, Lofoten Islands, and North Cape also experience exciting periods of the midnight sun.
The midnight sun in Iceland can be seen for the greater part of the day, and sometimes, the atmosphere remains bright after sunset until the next sunrise about 3 - 4 hours later. The duration of the sun gradually increases from 18 - 20 hours in May and reaches its peak of 20 - 21 hours in June before gradually reducing in July and August where the sun is visible anywhere from 18 - 14 hours.
In Iceland, the magnitude of the midnight sun increases the further north one travels. Akureyri and Ísafjörður are some of the best places to witness the midnight sun in Iceland and Reyjavik comes behind these towns.
In Greenland’s northernmost towns, the midnight sun is visible from late April to late August. The beautiful colors it brings to the rugged landscape of this island make the experience here worth having at least once. Towns such as Qaanaaq, Nuuk, Upernavik, and Uummannaq are the best places to see the midnight sun in Greenland as the experience lasts the longest there. In regions located on the southerly parts of the island, the midnight sun is generally not visible although the light from the sun reaches these places so there is no darkness.
All parts of Finland experience the midnight sun although it is more visible and intense when one travels further north of Finland. The midnight sun lasts more than 70 days in Finland and the best place to witness the natural phenomenon here is Lapland but Helsinki also offers a surreal experience.
In Swedish Lapland which is the northernmost part of Sweden, the midnight sun remains visible for nearly 60 days from May 27 - July 18, and the sunlight hours tend to reduce the further away one is from this region. Abisko and Jokkmokk are some of the best places to see the midnight sun in Sweden.
Alaska is the northernmost state in the U.S. and this has somehow placed it in the position to also experience the unique midnight sun and beautiful northern lights as well. For more than 70 days, the sun remains above the horizon in this state making it one of the lands of the midnight sun. Fairbanks is without doubt the best place to experience this natural phenomenon in Alaska.
Canada’s arctic region is the land of the midnight sun as the sun does not set during the summer months there. Inuvik - one of Canada's northernmost regions even experience this natural phenomenon for up to 56 days. Southerly parts of the country also share from this endless daylight but the midnight sun is not usually visible in these areas.