Polar Night and why it happens
When the sun dips below the horizon for a few weeks each year, The Northern Lights become visible. But in some parts of the world, it gets even better – there’s also a phenomenon known as ‘polar night.’ Polar nights happen when The Northern Lights are visible for prolonged periods of time and with little interference from light pollution. This natural phenomenon is most commonly found above the Arctic Circle during winter and particularly cold climates, but you might want to pack your bags if you’re lucky enough to find yourself in one of these locations during the polar night.
What is a Polar Night?
A polar night occurs when the sun is below the horizon for extended amounts of time, causing The Northern Lights to become visible. During a polar night, it’s also possible to see the midnight sun. The same phenomenon causes the midnight sun as The Northern Lights – the absence of direct sunlight. During the polar night, the sun is below the horizon for 24 hours, with the sky being lit up by the Northern Lights for the entire 24 hours. A polar night is, therefore, the opposite of a polar day – when there are 24 hours of sunlight. During polar nights, you can also experience something called ‘polar twilight’. This occurs when the sun is just underneath the horizon but is still visible as a faint glow.
How Long Does the Polar Night Last?
During a polar night, it’s possible for the sun to be below the horizon for a period of around 24 hours. However, the length of time the sun is below the horizon varies depending on several factors. During certain times of the year, the sun is below the horizon for a shorter period of time, while in other months, the sun can remain below the horizon for longer. The farther north you travel, the longer the polar night. The farther south you travel, the shorter the polar night. During the winter months of December and January, the sun is below the horizon for around 24 hours further south.
The Science Behind the Polar Night
The earth is tilted on its axis, which is why we experience seasons. The sun’s rays always hit the earth’s northern hemisphere at a lower angle in winter, causing them to be refracted and scattered. Most of the light is reflected off the surface of the snow and ice, while a small amount is absorbed. Due to the lower angle of the sun’s rays, they don’t penetrate very far through the atmosphere. This means that northern latitudes are in the dark for much of the winter due to the low sun angle. During summer, the sun’s rays hit the southern hemisphere at a much steeper angle, causing them to be reflected and scattered upwards. This means the light penetrates further through the atmosphere and reaches northern latitudes, meaning that northern regions are bathed in sunlight for much of the summer.
Why is there a polar night?
During the winter, the sun is below the horizon for extended periods, causing The Northern Lights to be visible. Because the sun is below the horizon, there is very little light pollution, making it the perfect time for seeing The Northern Lights. The Northern Lights will be visible at different times of the year depending on the amount of solar activity. The higher the level of solar activity, the earlier in the year The Northern Lights will become visible. During years where there is low solar activity, The Northern Lights will appear later in the year. The polar night is caused by the sun being below the horizon for an extended period of time. This is also why The Northern Lights are visible during the polar night.
Foods to eat during a polar night
During a polar night, it’s important to stay warm and fueled. Here are some foods to eat during a polar night: – Hot cereal – Hot, hearty cereal is a great option if you’re staying in hotels and want a hearty, comforting breakfast. Add nuts, dried fruit, and a sprinkle of cinnamon for an added kick. – Granola – Granola is easy to transport and can be eaten on the go. Granola bars are also a great option for when you’re outside and need a quick snack. Granola is packed with energy-boosting nuts and seeds, making it the perfect winter food. – Hot chocolate – There’s nothing better than a mug of hot chocolate when you’re curled up in bed during a polar night. Add a few marshmallows for a comforting treat. – Soup – Soup is another great winter food. A hot, hearty soup is easy to transport and makes a great lunch or dinner. Soups like minestrone and chicken noodles are great options. – Soup and sandwich combos – Mixing soup with a sandwich is a great way to warm up on a cold day. Try adding a drizzle of hot sauce to your sandwich for added warmth.
Activities to do during a polar night
If you’re lucky enough to be staying in a hotel during a polar night, here are some activities to do during a polar night: – Indoor exploration – Many hotels include indoor exploration in their list of amenities. Try indoor skydiving, indoor rock climbing, or an indoor archery range. Explore the hotel you’re staying at to discover other indoor activities to do. – Indoor swimming – If temperatures are too cold to swim outdoors, indoor swimming is a great way to stay fit during a polar night. – Stargazing – The dark skies during a polar night provide the perfect opportunity for a little stargazing. Explore the night sky with a pair of binoculars or a telescope for added fun. – Indoor yoga – Take advantage of the lack of sunlight during a polar night and do some indoor yoga. Some hotels offer yoga classes, or you can try to find an app with yoga poses.
Tips for Visiting During the Polar Night
If you’re lucky enough to stay in a hotel during a polar night, you’ll want to make the most of your visit. Here are some tips for visiting during the polar night: – Dress warmly – Make sure you’re dressing warmly to make the most of your visit during the polar night. Wear a hat, gloves, and a warm jacket, and use a scarf as a headband to protect your ears. – Bring a warm beverage – It can be tempting to grab a hot drink during a polar night, but it’s important to stay hydrated. Bring a warm, non-carbonated beverage to keep hydrated and warm. – Explore the hotel – Make the most of your visit during the polar night and explore the hotel you’re staying at. Many hotels have indoor activities available, so make sure to try them out. – Keep an eye on the forecast – Keep an eye on the forecast and try to make the most of the weather. If there are no clouds in the sky, you won’t be able to see The Northern Lights. – Pack layers – It can be difficult to know what to wear during a polar night because it can be very warm indoors and very cold outdoors. Make sure you pack layers to be comfortable no matter where you are.
The polar night is a great time to visit The Northern Lights. During the polar night, it’s also possible to see The Midnight Sun. Make sure you wrap up warmly and enjoy the show.