Where Can I Experience The Midnight Sun?
The Midnight Sun is a natural phenomenon that happens in both Polar Regions, although it is mainly associated with the Arctic. During each hemisphere’s summer season, areas within the Arctic Circle and on Antarctica go through periods when the sun never falls completely below the horizon. This means that the regular coming and going of night time is halted temporarily and that sunlight creeps its way across the landscapes from midnight to midday.
The Effects On Humans
This occurrence has been known to have a strange effect on people that are not used to being in a place where daylight exists for upwards of twenty-four hours. Tourists and some locals often find it hard to sleep, whilst others are driven to near insanity by the incessant sunlight. However, many artists have said that the Midnight Sun provides a light like no other and that it is a source of inspiration for some of their most vibrant works.
The Effects On The Environment
As you might expect, the presence of the Midnight Sun can speed up nature in a variety of different ways. The increased hours of sunlight mean that plants can photosynthesise for much longer, which results in them becoming larger and more abundant. There are even places in Alaska that have become famous for the giant vegetables that grow there every year.
The fact that the ground never really cools down leads an influx of insects. This, in turn, means that birds can dine out more and increase the size of their families. The extra food gives them the energy to lay more eggs than usual and also means there is much more to go around when the large family hatches. Chicks born this far north also tend to fledge a lot quicker, growing strong thanks to their protein-rich diets.
Lastly, grazing animals such as reindeer and muskox can take advantage of the green vegetation to help them create a thick, warm layer of fat to get them through what it always a tough winter.
Where And When To Experience The Midnight Sun?
Depending on which part of the Arctic you are in, the Midnight Sun can last for a varying amount of time between late April and the end of August. It is only really places within the Arctic Circle that experience the true Midnight Sun, although countries such as Iceland, as well as part of Norway and Finland, have areas where the hours of daylight are reduced to three or four at certain periods.
Although destinations such as Ilulissat in Greenland and Tromso in Norway will see the Midnight Sun between the middle of May and the end of July, visitors to Spitsbergen are unlikely to see night time at all for a total of four months (from late April to late August). We have expedition cruises available that purposefully seek out the Midnight Sun. The extended daylight means there is more time to explore these wild terrains and take part in a variety of polar activities.
The Polar Night: The Antithesis Of The Midnight Sun
If there’s a period of time when the sun doesn’t fall below the horizon, it stands to reason that there is also a period when it never rises. This is known as the Polar Night and occurs during the winter months at both ends of the world. However, the region that is affected by the Polar Night is smaller than that which is blanketed by the Midnight Sun. This is to do with the way that the atmosphere bends light rays around the elliptical surface of the Earth.
If you would like to experience this beautiful phenomenon for yourself, we have a wide range of Midnight Sun cruises for you to choose from. Speak to our passionate team to find your perfect expedition cruise.