Midnight sun

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.

The Altafjord in Alta, Norway, bathed in the midnight sun.
Midnight sun
Midnight sun at the North Cape on the island of Magerøya in Norway


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 closer 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, as described below, and the exact latitudes of the farthest reaches of midnight sun depend on topography and vary slightly year-to-year.

Midnight Sun
Midnight Sun seen from airplane while passing Greenland

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: the Canadian Yukon, Nunavut, and Northwest Territories; the nations of Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark (Greenland), Russia; and the State of Alaska in the United States. A quarter of Finland's territory lies north of the Arctic Circle, and at the country's northernmost point the sun does not set at all for 60 days during summer. In Svalbard, Norway, the northernmost inhabited region of Europe, there is no sunset from approximately 19 April to 23 August. The extreme sites are the poles, where the sun can be continuously visible for half the year. The North Pole has midnight sun for 6 months from late March to late September. The South Pole has midnight sun and experiences this from 23 September to 20 March (almost 6 months).

The opposite phenomenon, polar night, occurs in winter, when the Sun stays below the horizon throughout the day.

Since the axial tilt of the Earth is considerable (approximately 23 degrees 27 minutes), the Sun does not set at high latitudes in local summer.[1] The Sun remains continuously visible for one day during the summer solstice at the polar circle, for several weeks only 100 km (62 mi) closer to the pole, and for six months at the pole. At extreme latitudes, the midnight sun is usually referred to as polar day.

At the poles themselves, the Sun rises and sets only once each year on the equinox. During the six months that 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.

Because of atmospheric refraction, and also because the Sun is a disc rather than a point, the midnight sun may be experienced at latitudes slightly south of the Arctic Circle or north of the Antarctic Circle, though not exceeding one degree (depending on local conditions). For example, Iceland is known for its midnight sun, even though most of it (Grímsey is the exception) is slightly south of the Arctic Circle. For the same reasons, the period of sunlight at the poles is slightly longer than six months. Even the northern extremities of Scotland (and places at similar latitudes, such as St. Petersburg) experience twilight throughout the night in the northern sky at around the summer solstice.

Observers at heights appreciably above sea level can experience extended periods of midnight sun as a result of the "dip" of the horizon viewed from altitude.

Time zones and daylight saving time

The term "midnight sun" refers to the consecutive 24-hour periods of sunlight experienced north of the Arctic Circle and south of the Antarctic Circle. Other phenomena are sometimes referred to as "midnight sun", but they are caused by time zones and the observance of daylight saving time. For instance, in Fairbanks, Alaska, which is south of the Arctic Circle, the Sun sets at 12:47 am at the summer solstice. This is because Fairbanks is 51 minutes ahead of its idealized time zone (as most of the state is in one time zone) and Alaska observes daylight saving time. (Fairbanks is at about 147.72 degrees west, corresponding to UTC−9 hours 51 minutes, and is on UTC−9 in winter.) This means that solar culmination occurs at about 12:51 pm instead of at 12 noon.

If a precise moment for the genuine "midnight sun" is required, the observer's longitude, the local civil time and the equation of time must be taken into account. The moment of the Sun's closest approach to the horizon coincides with its passing due north at the observer's position, which occurs only approximately at midnight in general. Each degree of longitude east of the Greenwich meridian makes the vital moment exactly 4 minutes earlier than midnight as shown on the clock, while each hour that the local civil time is ahead of coordinated universal time (UTC, also known as GMT) makes the moment an hour later. These two effects must be added. Furthermore, the equation of time (which depends on the date) must be added: a positive value on a given date means that the Sun is running slightly ahead of its average position, so the value must be subtracted.[2]

As an example, at the North Cape of Norway at midnight on June 21/22, the longitude of 25.9 degrees east makes the moment 103.2 minutes earlier by clock time; but the local time, 2 hours ahead of GMT in the summer, makes it 120 minutes later by clock time. The equation of time at that date is -2.0 minutes. Therefore, the sun's lowest elevation occurs 120 - 103.2 + 2.0 minutes after midnight: at 00.19 Central European Summer time. On other nearby dates the only thing different is the equation of time, so this remains a reasonable estimate for a considerable period. The Sun's altitude remains within half a degree of the minimum of about 5 degrees for about 45 minutes either side of this time.

White nights

Locations where the Sun remains less than 6 (or 7[3]) degrees below the horizon—above 60° 34’ (or 59° 34’) latitude south of the Arctic Circle or north of the Antarctic Circle—experience midnight twilight instead of midnight sun, so that daytime activities, such as reading, are still possible without artificial light on a clear night.

White Nights have become a common symbol of Saint Petersburg, Russia, where they occur from about 11 June to 2 July,[3] and the last 10 days of June are celebrated with cultural events known as the White Nights Festival.


Midnight sun dates svatlas
Map showing the dates of midnight sun at various latitudes (left) and the total number of nights.

Even though at the Arctic Circle the center of the Sun is, per definition and without refraction by the atmosphere, only visible during one summer night, some part of the midnight sun is visible at the Arctic Circle from approximately 12 June until 1 July. This period extends as one travels north: At Cape Nordkinn, Norway, the northernmost point of Continental Europe, the midnight sun lasts approximately from 14 May to 29 July. On the Svalbard archipelago farther north, it lasts from 20 April to 22 August.[4]

See also

  • Pytheas, ancient Greek geographer from Massalia and first person to describe the midnight sun
  • Eagle Summit, which, because of its altitude, experiences the midnight sun despite being south of the Arctic Circle
  • Polar night, the opposite phenomenon experienced in winter: a day without sunrise.
  • Midnight Sun Solar Race Team: With the midnight sun phenomenon, a solar-powered vehicle can continue driving 24 hours a day.


  1. ^ "What is the Midnight Sun Phenomenon? | Earth Phenomena | Planetary Science". Scribd. Retrieved 2017-08-25.
  2. ^ H. Spencer Jones, General Astronomy (Edward Arnold, London, 1922), Chapters I-III
  3. ^ a b Great Soviet Encyclopedia
  4. ^ Trygve B. Haugan, ed. Det Nordlige Norge Fra Trondheim Til Midnattssolens Land (Trondheim: Reisetrafikkforeningen for Trondheim og Trøndelag. 1940)

Further reading

  • Lutgens F.K., Tarbuck E.J. (2007) The Atmosphere, Tenth Edition, page 39, PEARSON, Prentice Hall, NJ.

External links

Antarctic Circle

The Antarctic Circle is the most southerly of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. The region south of this circle is known as the Antarctic, and the zone immediately to the north is called the Southern Temperate Zone. South of the Antarctic Circle, the sun is above the horizon for 24 continuous hours at least once per year (and therefore visible at midnight) and the centre of the sun is below the horizon for 24 continuous hours at least once per year (and therefore not visible at noon); this is also true within the equivalent polar circle in the Northern Hemisphere, the Arctic Circle.

The position of the Antarctic Circle is not fixed; as of 12 February 2019, it runs 66°33′47.5″ south of the Equator. Its latitude depends on the Earth's axial tilt, which fluctuates within a margin of more than 2° over a 41,000-year period, due to tidal forces resulting from the orbit of the Moon. Consequently, the Antarctic Circle is currently drifting southwards at a speed of about 15 m (49 ft) per year.

Arctic Circle

The Arctic Circle is the most northerly of the five major circles of latitude as shown on maps of Earth. It marks the northernmost point at which the centre of the noon sun is just visible on the December solstice and the southernmost point at which the centre of the midnight sun is just visible on the June solstice. The region north of this circle is known as the Arctic, and the zone just to the south is called the Northern Temperate Zone.

As seen from the Arctic, the Sun is above the horizon for 24 continuous hours at least once per year (and therefore visible at midnight) and below the horizon for 24 continuous hours at least once per year (and therefore not visible at noon). This is also true in the Antarctic region, south of the equivalent Antarctic Circle.

The position of the Arctic Circle is not fixed; as of 14 February 2019, it runs 66°33′47.5″ north of the Equator. Its latitude depends on the Earth's axial tilt, which fluctuates within a margin of more than 2° over a 41,000-year period, due to tidal forces resulting from the orbit of the Moon. Consequently, the Arctic Circle is currently drifting northwards at a speed of about 15 metres (49 feet) per year.

Jonas Reingold

Jonas Reingold (born 22 April 1969) is a bass guitar player from Malmö, Sweden. He started to play bass in 1986 when he subbed for a friend in the local famous act WIRE. The band was happy with his performance and offered him the spot. From 1988 until 1994 he studied music and achieved a master's degree of fine arts in 1994.

Busy working as a session player between 1994 and 1996 he finally released his debut album as a band leader in 1995, which was called Sweden Bass Orchestra. It was a bass big band consisting of 5 bass players and a drummer. They also had a guest performance by Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen on the disc. Between 1996 and 1999, Reingold was busy recording with various artists and different projects, such as Midnight Sun, Reingold, Sand and Gold and others.

Reingold has also been contributed to songwriting for the Swedish metal group The Poodles. He has been credited for one song on each of their album so far (except for Sweet Trade for which he co-wrote three tracks). He has co-written: "Metal Will Stand Tall", "Streets of Fire", "Seven Seas", "Reach the Sky", "I Rule the Night"'' and "Father to a Son" with them. Most of his contributions has become some of the most recognized songs by the band.

In 1999 he started to work with The Flower Kings, replacing Michael Stolt who moved on to other things, and is still a permanent member in the group. Right now he is involved with the Kings, Opus Atlantica, Time Requiem, Kaipa and his own band: Karmakanic. Reingold was also a member of the international progressive rock band, The Tangent.

Reingold played bass as special guest on the Musea/Colossus release: Dante's Inferno with a Hungarian progressive rock band called Yesterdays. This concept CD was released in December 2008.

Reingold also played bass on An Endless Sporadic's self-titled full-length album An Endless Sporadic which was produced by Roine Stolt of The Flower Kings and Transatlantic.

Journey Under the Midnight Sun

Journey Under the Midnight Sun (白夜行, Byakuyakō) is a mystery novel written by Keigo Higashino, first serialized in the monthly novel magazine Subaru from Shueisha from January 1997 to January 1999. The entire volume was published in August 1999 and became a bestseller.

During the serialization, the novel was at first written as a series of short stories representing chronological snapshots of the overall plot line. Higashino modified its structure to make it a single coherent story before publishing it as a single volume. As of November 2005 the book had sold 550,000 copies. However, its sales quickly picked up after the first episode of the adapted TV series was aired. By January 2006 its sales had broken a million. Its sales exceeded 2 million in December 2010.

The novel attracted adaptations, including a stage drama in 2005, a Japanese TV series in 2006, a Korean motion picture in 2009, and a Japanese motion picture in 2010.

Land of the Midnight Sun (album)

Land of the Midnight Sun is the debut album by jazz fusion guitarist Al Di Meola, released in 1976.

Midnight Sun (2018 film)

Midnight Sun is a 2018 American romantic drama film directed by Scott Speer and written by Eric Kirsten, based on the 2006 Japanese film of the same name. The film stars Bella Thorne, Patrick Schwarzenegger, and Rob Riggle, and follows a teenage girl with the disease xeroderma pigmentosum, which prevents her from going out into sunlight. When she meets a boy, she struggles to decide whether to tell him about her condition or pretend to live a normal life. Principal photography began on October 12, 2015 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The film was released in the United States on March 23, 2018.

Midnight Sun (Lionel Hampton and Sonny Burke song)

"Midnight Sun" (1954) was originally an instrumental composed by Lionel Hampton and Sonny Burke in 1947 and is now considered a jazz standard. Subsequently, Johnny Mercer wrote the words to the song. One famous recording of the song with the Mercer lyrics is by Ella Fitzgerald on her 1957 album Like Someone in Love. Fitzgerald recorded the song again for her 1964 album Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Johnny Mercer Songbook. She recorded it for a third time in 1975 with jazz pianist Oscar Peterson on the Pablo release Ella and Oscar.

Midnight Sun (Lou Donaldson album)

Midnight Sun is an album by jazz saxophonist Lou Donaldson recorded for the Blue Note label in 1960, but not released until 1980 and performed by Donaldson with Horace Parlan, George Tucker, Al Harewood, and Ray Barretto.

Midnight Sun (Marvel Comics)

Midnight Sun (M'Nai) is a fictional character, a former supervillain in the Marvel Comics universe. He first appeared in Marvel Special Edition #16 (February 1974), and was created by Steve Englehart, Jim Starlin, and Al Milgrom.

Midnight Sun (Meyer novel)

Midnight Sun is an unreleased companion novel to the book Twilight by author Stephenie Meyer. The work retells the events of Twilight, but is written from the perspective of Edward Cullen instead of that of the series' usual narrating character Bella Swan. Meyer stated that Twilight was to be the only book from the series that she planned to rewrite from Edward's perspective. To give them a better feel of Edward's character, Meyer allowed Catherine Hardwicke, the director of the film adaptation of Twilight, and Robert Pattinson, the actor playing Edward, to read some completed chapters of the novel while they shot the film.

Midnight Sun Peak

Midnight Sun Peak is a mountain in the Baffin Mountains, Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada. It is part of the Auyuittuq National Park area.

Midnight Sun Solar Race Team

The Midnight Sun Solar Rayce Car Team is a Canadian solar car race team affiliated with the University of Waterloo of Waterloo, Ontario. Founded in 1988, the Midnight Sun team is a student-run organization which designs and builds a solar vehicle every two to three years to compete in two solar challenges; the World Solar Challenge, held in Australia, and the American Solar Challenge, held in the United States. The team's roster recruits from every department on campus, resulting in a diverse, innovative team and work environment.

The Midnight Sun team’s mission is to build a competitive solar car which will promote design, innovation and teamwork amongst students at the University of Waterloo. Furthermore, they aim to educate the public on sustainable technologies as well as explore the possibilities of solar energy applications for a greener tomorrow.

Polar night

The polar night occurs in the northernmost and southernmost regions of the Earth when the night lasts for more than 24 hours. This occurs only inside the polar circles. The opposite phenomenon, the polar day, or midnight sun, occurs when the Sun stays above the horizon for more than 24 hours. "Night" is understood as the center of the Sun being below a free horizon. Since the atmosphere bends the rays of the Sun, the polar day is longer than the polar night, and the area that is affected by polar night is somewhat smaller than the area of midnight sun. The polar circle is located at a latitude between these two areas, at the latitude of approximately 66.5 degrees. In the northernmost city of Sweden, Kiruna, at 67°51'N, the polar night lasts for around 28 twenty-four-hour periods, while the midnight sun lasts around 50 twenty-four-hour periods. While it is day in the Arctic Circle, it is night in the Antarctic Circle, and vice versa.

Any planet or moon with a sufficient axial tilt that rotates with respect to its star significantly more frequently than it orbits the star (no tidal locking between the two) will experience the same phenomenon (a nighttime lasting more than one rotation period).

Rally Sweden

The Rally Sweden (Swedish: Svenska rallyt), formerly the International Swedish Rally, and later the Uddeholm Swedish Rally, is an automobile rally competition held in Värmland, Sweden in early February. First held in 1950, when it was called the Rally to the Midnight Sun (Which at this time was a summer rally) with start and finish at separate locations, seventeen years later both start and finish became located in Karlstad. The main service park is located in the town of Torsby, which is actually much closer to the special stages than Karlstad. The competition is spread out over three days with the start of the first part on Friday morning and the finish on Sunday afternoon.

In 1973 the rally was introduced to the World Rally Championship and started to get international attention; the Swedish Rally has been also traditionally the only rally held on snow. Like Rally Finland, this rally is known to be very difficult for non-Nordic drivers. The first winning driver of the Swedish Rally that wasn't from Sweden or Finland was Frenchman Sébastien Loeb in 2004, Frenchman Sébastien Ogier was the second non-Nordic winner with wins in 2013, 2015 and 2016. Spaniard Carlos Sainz finished second four times and third two times.

The rally has been cancelled twice; in 1974 due to the oil crisis and in 1990 because of the mild weather. The rally was also not held in 2009 due to the WRC's round rotation system. Weather continues to be a concern, as rising global temperatures reduce the likelihood of appropriately snowy conditions every year. The 2005 event was one of the warmest ever, turning many stages into mud and destroying the special studded snow tires used by the teams.

Renny Harlin

Renny Harlin (born Lauri Mauritz Harjola; 15 March 1959) is a Finnish film director, producer and screenwriter. His films include A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger, The Long Kiss Goodnight and Deep Blue Sea.

Harlin's movies have earned $525,410,873 in the United States and $1,160,546,146 in the worldwide aggregate box office as of October 2016, making him the 115th highest-grossing director in the global film market. His film Cutthroat Island held the Guinness world record for "Biggest Box-Office Flop of All Time". He shared a similar fate 20 years later with the film, "Legend of the Ancient Sword" in China.

Scouting in Alaska

Scouting in Alaska has a long history, from the 1920s to the present day, serving thousands of youth in programs that suit the environment in which they live. Alaska shares a communal Scout history, only being broken into smaller councils in the 1960s.

The Midnight Sun

"The Midnight Sun" is episode 75 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.

Whalers of the Midnight Sun

Whalers of the Midnight Sun (1934) is an adventure novel for children by Australian author Alan J. Villiers, and illustrated by Charles Pont. It won the Children's Book of the Year Award: Older Readers in 1950 after it had been published in Australia for the first time by Angus and Robertson.

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