First nights with the midnight Sun on Senja
Midnight sun season: It’s this time of year again when the Sun doesn’t set at all for two-and-a-half months. Here’s what life is like under the arctic midnight Sun on Senja island.
Last night was a beautiful clear night. We hadn’t had one in about a week. The nights had been bright until tonight but not like last night… After a bath in the hot Jacuzzis of the observatory at around midnight, I noticed the Sun passing behind the hill in the North. The colors were absolutely astounding. As it is my first year so far north, I was already mind-boggled by the fact that it was so bright outside at midnight. An hour later, as I was stuck in my couch trying not to miss the season finale of Game of Thrones, the Sun struck my windowpane again! That’s it, I thought! The midnight Sun is here!
Sure enough, the Sun hadn’t set at all. When you have never experienced it before, you just cannot describe it. It’s like nature is playing a trick on your body. Your muscles feel tired after a long day, but your brain won’t go into shutdown mode!
Senja island is located at 69.2° degrees north of latitude. That’s about 3 degrees north of the Arctic circle at 66.3°N. By definition, if you are at the Arctic Circle, there is at least one winter night without the Sun rising, and one summer night without the Sun setting. Here on Senja, we get about ninety days a year with either condition. The ‘white nights’ begin around May 18thand come to an end around July 25th. During this time, the Sun never sets. It does get lower on the northern horizon throughout the night though. If you think it can’t come that suddenly, think again. The Sun variations are absolutely insane here from one day to another. Every day we gain 15-20 minutes of daylight. You can actually notice the difference in the Sun’s position every day! Up until last night, we couldn’t really tell, but last night it really came like a shock!
The local population is used to it because they were born with it. However some people still struggle with the predominant light all day long. Most people install black curtains to avoid suffering from too much insomnia. According to the locals, the most difficult part is when you have small kids who constantly wake up at night. However if you are a ‘night’ owl, the midnight Sun is something you should experience at least once in your life. Especially when you are surrounded by such beautiful nature.
Around midnight, the low Sun allows a long-lasting orange light. At this time of the year, the mountain tops are still snow-capped. The Sun still hits them all night, turning them pink. The nature is also slowly waking up from a long winter and the birds never stop singing. If you can’t sleep, it’s the perfect time to go on a little hike around the gorgeous mountains of the island!
At the observatory, we enjoy every moment of the year because the surrounding nature is beautiful no matter when. As stunning as the midnight Sun is, I am really looking forward to nighttime and aurora again. This is what we focus on at the observatory. We are so happy when people enjoy the aurora with us. There’s not that long of a wait though! We are just four months away from the beginning of the season! Have you booked your spot with us yet? Winter is coming!