What is the Midnight Sun?
This answer has been compiled courtesy of information taken from Wikipedia & VisitNorway.com
The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon that occurs in the summer months in places north of the Arctic Circle or south of the Antarctic Circle, when the sun remains visible at the local midnight. Around the summer solstice (approximately 21 June in the Northern Hemisphere and 22 December in the Southern Hemisphere) the sun is visible for the full 24 hours, given fair weather. The number of days per year with potential midnight sun increases the farther towards either pole one goes. Although approximately defined by the polar circles, in practice the midnight sun can be seen as much as 55 miles (90 km) outside the polar circle.
The earth is rotating at a tilted axis relative to the sun, and during the summer months the North Pole is angled towards the sun. That’s why, for several weeks, the sun never sets above the Arctic Circle. At the poles themselves, the sun rises and sets only once each year. During the six months of ‘Midnight Sun’ when the sun is above the horizon, it spends the days continuously moving in circles around the observer, gradually spiralling higher and reaching its highest circuit of the sky at the summer solstice. The opposite phenomenon, polar night, occurs in winter, when the sun stays below the horizon throughout the day.
Where to see the midnight sun in Norway
Because there are no permanent human settlements south of the Antarctic Circle, apart from research stations, the countries and territories whose populations experience the midnight sun are limited to those crossed by the Arctic Circle: namely Greenland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Russia, Canada and Alaska. In Svalbard (a territorial archipelago approximately 600 miles north of Norway) the northernmost inhabited region of Europe, there is no sunset from approximately 19 April to 23 August. The further north you travel, the longer the midnight sun is visible. During the summer months you can experience up to 24 hours of sunlight above the Arctic Circle, giving you more time to enjoy the sights and make new discoveries.
Between May and July, 76 days of midnight sun greet travellers to Northern Norway. The further north you go, the more nights of midnight sun you get. Many sights and activities are open at night during these weeks, so you can do midnight golfing, cycling, river paddling or sea kayaking, or maybe just find a quiet spot to fish.
Approximate dates when you can see the midnight sun in Norway:
The Arctic Circle 12 Jun – 01 Jul
Bodo 04 Jun – 08 Jul
Svolvaer 28 May – 14 Jul
Tromso 20 May – 22 Jul
Hammerfest 16 May – 27 Jul
The North Cape 14 May – 29 Jul
Longyearbyen (Svalbard) 20 Apr – 22 Aug
If you would like to experience the Midnight Sun for yourself, either on a Summer touring holiday in Norway or a Summer Hurtigruten Coastal Voyage, contact Project Travel on 01-210 8391 and we’d be happy to package it for you.
Image credit: Hurtigruten