Want to know why the sun refuses to set sometimes? Here’s all you need to know about the Nightless Night & how you can experience it yourself in the Land of the Midnight Sun.
As summer approaches in the north, something truly magical happens. Nights grow shorter and shorter until one day … they’re gone. This phenomenon is known as the Midnight Sun, Polar Day or Nightless Night, and the effect it has on the Arctic is stunning. 24 hours of sunlight opens the gateways for midnight adventures and near-mystical memories. Read on for more info on the Nightless Night, how you can enjoy it and capture it, only in Lapland, Finland, the Land of the Midnight Sun.
What is the Midnight Sun?
Land of the midnight sun
From mid-May until mid-August, nighttime is but a memory, and in place of the stars and moon, there is the gentle, golden light. That’s why Finland is called the Land of the Midnight Sun.
Because almost all of Lapland lies above the Arctic Circle, summer means that the sun (or more accurately daylight) doesn’t go away for between two and four months, depending on how north you venture. In Utsjoki, as far north as north goes, the sun just circles in the sky all day and all night. Farther south, the sun may dip behind the fells or trees, but the sky remains bright.
How long does Midnight Sun last?
In true scientific terms, the Midnight Sun appears only as far south as the Arctic Circle. One day a year (the summer solstice), the sun will rise and not set until the next night. However, in practical terms, nighttime vanishes on the Arctic Circle about a month before. It’s a phenomenon known only to Arctic countries, like Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark (Greenland), Iceland, Russia, the United States (Alaska), and Canada.
In Finnish Lapland, even the towns and villages south of the Arctic Circle benefit from impossibly long summer days.
How to enjoy Midnight sun in Lapland?
What is polar night (and polar day)?
Other names for the Midnight Sun are Nightless Night and polar day. Which begs the question then … what is polar night? Polar night is on the opposite side of the year, when the sun keeps hitting the snooze button for a few months straight. Instead of sunrise and daylight, the horizon simply glows in all the pastel colors. Polar night combined with heavy snowfall creates one of Lapland’s most stunning views—the Blue Moment—as the dark blue sky, pristine white snow and glowing horizon turns the world magic for a few minutes.
Midnight Sun and Summer activities
The Nightless Night has a curious effect, minimizing your need for sleep and maximizing the possibilities for summer fun.
Of course, you can always just hang out downtown and party until the sun comes … goes … until the clubs close.
Try these outdoor activities under the Midnight Sun
How to photograph the Midnight Sun
An old photographers’ trick is to use the sunrise and sunset hours—the Golden Hours—for a thick, warm light that looks the way memories feel. Instead of 60 minutes or so, the Midnight Sun can create hours of golden syrupy light, as the sun rolls around the horizon. We’ve put together some tips on how you can use the Midnight Sun to your photographic advantage.
- Plan ahead– Before taking your first photo, find the right spot to shoot, with a nice view northward, where the Midnight Sun will be.
- Use the foreground – A person, plant, anything that makes for a good image, is more interesting than just pointing your camera at the sun.
- Wait for the moment – When the sun is low, you get the best soft golden light. Remember that true midnight is around 1am (because of daylight savings), and that the sun’s position depends on how close to midsummer and how north you are.
- Use the Midnight Sun in other photos – Besides getting the sun itself, the long golden hours are perfect for shooting … well, just about anything!