Archive for June 2014

Lands of the Midnight Sun during the Summer Solstice.   Leave a comment

The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon where the sun is visible at midnight in the northernmost parts of the world north of the Arctic Circle during the summer months and around the time of the summer solstice which occurs on June 21 every year. The sun is visible for 24 hours on the solstice day every year. The midnight sun is visible at the Arctic Circle from June 12 to July 1 and this extends to more days as one travels towards the North Pole where it is visible continuously as the sun does not set for six months. At the northernmost point of Norway this period extends approximately from mid May till the end of July. The countries which experience it are limited to those crossed by the Arctic Circle like Greenland, Iceland, Finland, Norway, northern parts of Russia, Sweden, northern parts of Canada and Alaska in the United States of America. In Finland’s northernmost point the sun does not set at all for 60 days during summer. In Svalbard, Norway, there is no sunset from mid April to mid August every year as the sun is above the horizon throughout that period. At the North Pole, the sun rises once and sets just once every year. During the six months when the sun is above the horizon it spends the days continuously moving in circles in the sky slowly moving higher and reaching its highest point in the sky at the summer solstice after which it begins it’s journey in the opposite direction southwards. The same happens at the South Pole but in the other six months when the seasons are the opposite down under and at the Winter Solstice on December 22 every year where it is actually the Summer Solstice. The summer solstice also marks the beginning of summer which lasts until the autumnal equinox on September 22. At the summer solstice, the sun travels the longest path through the sky, and that day has the most daylight hours. When the summer solstice happens in the Northern Hemisphere, the Earth’s North Pole is tilted about 23.4 degrees toward the sun and the same takes place in the Southern Hemisphere when the South Pole is tilted towards the sun on December 22.

White Nights are the periods when twilight is present all throughout the night even though the sun may set for some time in places with high latitudes and has become a symbol of St. Petersburg, Russia, where they occur from about June 11 to July 2, with the last ten days of June celebrated with many different cultural events like ballets, rock concerts, fireworks displays and is known as the White Nights Festival. Some other cities also have similar festivals with different names like Kulturnatten (night of culture) in Copenhagen, Denmark and Night of the Arts in Finland and even in places where it is not very bright at night like in Paris where it is called Nuit Blanche and also called by the same name in Toronto. One can attend these events at these festivals so it is a time of enjoying the natural phenomenon as well as cultural events for free. In Scandinavian countries, the holiday of Midsummer’s Eve is observed on a weekend near the time of the solstice. Some Pagans and Druids also celebrate the summer solstice at the Stonehenge monument in England with mystical chantings.