The magical midnight sun
The eternal sun, polar day – the midnight sun is known by many names. Regardless of what you choose to call this natural phenomenon, it is a truly unique experience to visit Svalbard during the spring and summer months when the days never end. Most people have heard about the midnight sun, but do you really know what causes the phenomenon?
In Svalbard, the sun does not set between mid-April and the end of August. Why? During this period the North Pole faces the sun and the further north you are from the Arctic Circle, the longer the midnight sun shines. The Earth's axis is tilted at an angle of approximately 23°, which means that the sun does not disappear below the horizon if you are at high latitudes. In Svalbard, this means exposure to the sun around the clock. When the Earth's axis tilts the other way during the winter months, everything north of the Arctic Circle is instead hidden from the sun's rays. You then talk about polar night or midwinter darkness.
The perfect light
Many who have experienced the midnight sun describe the phenomenon as a golden shimmer. This combined with the Arctic silence is something truly special to experience. The light from the midnight sun can also be compared to the "golden hour", the time just before or just after sunset, something that many photographers consider providing the perfect conditions. This also offers the perfect opportunities for capturing unforgettable photos!
Day and night flow together
It can be difficult to keep track of time when day and night flow together. The bright nights trigger to stay up and enjoy everything that the dreamlike Arctic landscape has to offer. Many locals get an extra boost of energy during these months when the sun is constantly above the horizon and like to stay awake into the wee hours. As a visitor, it is important to use blackouts or eye masks to get the necessary sleep even though the magical light calls for attention!
Photo: Johan Reuthammar - PolarQuest
Since 1999, we have taken travellers on once-in-a-lifetime trips to Svalbard. From May to September our three small expedition ships, carrying only 12 and 50 passengers, explore this magnificent Arctic archipelago. Unpredictability and flexibility are the main keywords when you travel with PolarQuest as the exact route depends on weather, ice conditions and wildlife encounters. Sometimes you might be woken up in the middle of the night if a polar bear has been spotted on the ice.