In the northernmost corner of Finland, the sun went down in late November, and will rise again in mid-January. Contrary to popular belief, the Polar Night is not completely dark.
In the far north, sun does not rise above the horizon during the deepest winter weeks. Further south within the Arctic Circle, the days are very short, just a hint of sun between dawn and dusk. In the Finnish language, we call this period kaamos.
The reason for this phenomenon is earth’s axial tilt. This polar night is not all darkness, as snow reflects the light of the moon and the stars, and during the day, the atmosphere scatters light across the sky that glows in different hues of blue, and on cloudless days (and nights), you may see the Northern Lights.
The polar night is at its longest at the time of the winter solstice. By Saturday December 22, days will start getting longer again, and in Finland’s northernmost village, Nuorgam, the polar night will end just before noon on January 18.
If you happen to be in Finland and up above the Arctic Circle, you can check the length of the Polar Night with this handy calculator.
How can you manage for weeks without a single sunbeam? Municipality of Enontekiö Communications Coordinator Heli Nurmi assures that you will need no survival tips, as the locals consider kaamos as an idyllic period of the year.
“I think most of us enjoy the polar night. It is a very quiet and peaceful time. It is also the time when we prepare for Christmas and the New Year, so there is anticipation in the air.”
“In the south of Finland people complain about the darkness, but they do not have snow. We wanted to show that we are not living in darkness, so we set up a webcam where everyone can see what the polar night looks like”, Heli Nurmi explains.
So sit down, turn off the lights and contemplate the Polar Night camera. All is calm, even if not yet bright.