Feature: Midnight Sun & Polar Night

Because the Earth is tilted on its axis, polar regions are constantly facing the sun at their respective summer solstices and are tilted away from it in the winter. The Arctic and Antarctic Circles, at 66° 33' north and south latitude respectively, are the northern and southern limits of constant daylight on their longest day of the year.

The northern half of mainland Norway, as well as Svalbard and Jan Mayen Island, lie north of the Arctic Circle but during summer, between late May and mid-August, nowhere in the country experiences true darkness. In Trondheim, for example, the first stars aren't visible until mid-August.

Conversely, winters here are dark, dreary and long, with only a few hours of twilight to break the long polar nights. In Svalbard, not even a twilight glow can be seen for over a month. During this period of darkness, many people suffer from SAD syndrome, or 'seasonal affective disorder'. Its effects may be minimised by using special solar-spectrum light bulbs for up to 45 minutes after waking up. Not surprisingly, most northern communities make a ritual of welcoming the sun the first time it peeks above the southern horizon.

Bodø

Latitude

67° 18'

Midnight Sun

4 Jun – 8 Jul

Polar Night

15 Dec – 28 Dec

Svolvær

Latitude

68° 15'

Midnight Sun

28 May – 14 Jul

Polar Night

5 Dec – 7 Jan

Narvik

Latitude

68° 26'

Midnight Sun

27 May – 15 Jul

Polar Night

4 Dec – 8 Jan

Tromsø

Latitude

69° 42'

Midnight Sun

20 May – 22 Jul

Polar Night

25 Nov – 17 Jan

Alta

Latitude

70° 00'

Midnight Sun

16 May – 26 Jul

Polar Night

24 Nov – 18 Jan

Hammerfest

Latitude

70° 40'

Midnight Sun

16 May – 27 Jul

Polar Night

21 Nov – 21 Jan

Nordkapp

Latitude

71° 11'

Midnight Sun

13 May – 29 Jul

Polar Night

18 Nov – 24 Jan

Longyearbyen

Latitude

78° 12'

Midnight Sun

20 Apr – 21 Aug

Polar Night

26 Oct – 16 Feb