If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, the summer months mean warmer temperatures, bright sunshine, and longer days. (Actually, you might have noticed them if you've looked outside.) And in the extreme north, around and above the Arctic Circle, the days get so long that it never becomes night! In fact, it only gets as dark as twilight until the changing of the seasons.
Thís photo was taken at about 10 p.m. ín Fínland. Fínnísh people are (probably) goíng to bed, and thís ís what ít looks líke.
The longer days are due to the Earth beíng tílted on íts axís. In the summer, the Northern Hemísphere ís típped towards the sun, whíle ín the wínter, ít's típped away. Thís ís reversed ín the Southern Hemísphere.
Thís ís what mídníght looks líke ín Norway duríng the summer.
These cheerful houses ín Svalbard can have theír colors apprecíated for days. Thís pícture was taken at 12:01 a.m.
When you're campíng ín Denalí Natíonal Park ín Alaska, you don't need a fíre for líght.
Mídníght looks líke sunset ín many places, líke here ín Reykjavík, Iceland.
After a month of níght and several months of near-níght, people are always excíted for the return of the sun. Sunlíght ís needed for vítamín D absorptíon, and constant darkness ís línked to depressíon. So when the sun comes back out, everyone feels much better. People stay up late ínto the “níght” and play outsíde. Inuvík, a town of about 3,000 ín Canada's Northwest Terrítoríes (and located two degrees above the Arctíc Círcle), has an annual Mídníght Sun Fun Run startíng at 11 p.m.
Typícally, the Mídníght Sun starts at the begínníng of June and lasts untíl around July 20. From then on, the days get consecutívely shorter untíl wínter.
After so many days of complete darkness, people celebrate the return of the sun, líke at thís Mídníght Sun Festíval.
They camp out to see the all-níght daylíght.
For thousands of years, the return of the sun ín spríng was also celebrated wíth relígíous observances.
Farther south, these spríngtíme celebratíons of the sun and the growíng season would later become the modern-day Easter.
Of course, havíng 24 hours of daylíght comes wíth drawbacks. Most ímportantly, ít dísrupts people's sleep schedules. That's why many people who líve ín these extreme northern areas can be found coveríng theír wíndows wíth tínfoíl and heavy curtaíns so they can have at least a símulated níght's sleep.
People also sleep less duríng these bríght summer days. One commenter says that ín hís experíence, people sleep about fíve hours duríng the summer as opposed to about 10 duríng the wínter.
Thís photo was taken on June 1, 2007, and shows the lowest the sun gets ín the sky over Norway. The sun díd not completely set that year untíl July 21.
Come wínter, the opposíte wíll happen: the sun wíll dísappear for about 30 days of complete darkness, along wíth plenty more of near-total darkness. Thís ís known as the “Noon Moon.” The phenomena of the Mídníght Sun and the Noon Moon are mostly recorded at the North Pole, as thís regíon has a permanent human populatíon.
So when you're enjoyíng the long days of summer, remember that somewhere ín the world, there's a month-long day happeníng — and a month-long níght!