That time of the year - Midnight Sun

23rd May 2019. 1.26am - The beginning of the period in which the sun will be up at midnight

Photo by Demian Hauptmann

Photo by Demian Hauptmann

Today is the first day this year on which the sun will not set before midnight. In fact, starting two days from now and continuing until late July (20th July), the sun will not set at all. Here in Abisko, we will be in a period of 24-hour daylight. During this time, a lot of activities take place in and around Abisko Nationalpark, for example guided hiking tours to the top of Nuolja mountain from which we have a great view on the midnight sun. Also, STF will have the chairlift in operation at “night” and bring visitors up to the mountain top to watch the midnight sun. For more information, visit the Website of the Swedish Tourist Association.

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To understand why we have midnight sun, and a period of 24-hour daylight in the Arctic, we will look at the earth and its axis as it is orbiting around the sun. The earth’s axis is tilted so that one part of the earth points more towards the sun than the other part. Also, the earth moves along an elliptical orbit around the sun. Both rotations (earth around sun and earth around its axis) combined lead to the Arctic being exposed to the sun for 24 hours straight during summer.

Usually, as the earth spins around its axis, each part of the earth is turned towards the sun (day) and away from the sun (night) once during a 24-hour period. During summer in the Northern hemisphere the Northern parts of the globe are at their closest to the sun as the earth orbits around it. The Arctic region which covers an area surrounding the earth’s axis, is positioned towards the sun so that the spin of our planet around its own axis does not have the normal effect of a night-day-rhythm. This means, the Arctic is exposed to the sun continuously, we have 24 hours of daylight.

If you are interested in the sunrise and sunset times in Abisko, and the next opportunity to see the night sky, visit the Time and Date website.