Midnight Sun and Northern Lights

Around Midsummer in northern Finland, the sun does not set for several weeks. The occurrence of flares on the surface of the sun makes it possible to predict the liveliness of the Northern Lights in areas in which they are common such as northern Finland.

Midnight Sun

Imagine reaching for your book at midnight and sitting by a restful lakeside for a quiet read in clear daylight. Or leaving a Helsinki nightclub to find the sun has risen before you have had the chance to go to bed. The magic spell of the Finnish summer derives from the reluctance of the sun to disappear below the horizon. The abundance of light inspires a season of frenzied activity in the towns and cities, and an unforgettable backdrop for countryside holidays.

Around Midsummer in northern Finland, the sun does not set for several weeks. In Utsjoki, for example, a single, long summer day lasts for over two months. Even in the south, the ’night’ consists of a period of prolonged twilight rather than real darkness.

 

Midnight sun

District  Latitude Midnight sun

Utsjoki 69°52′ May  16 – July 27

Ivalo 68°40′ May  22 – July 21

Sodankylä  67°25′ May  29 – July 14

Rovaniemi  66°30′ June  6  – July 7

Kuusamo 65°59′ June 12 – June 30

Kemi  65°45′ June 18-  June 24

 

Northern lights

Northern Lights

It’s no wonder that ancient theories about the phenomenon known as the Aurora Borealis varied from the wrath of invisible gods to fires sparked by the waving of a mythical foxes tail, the latter explanation accounting for the Finnish word for the Aurora, fox’s fires or ‘revontulet’. The magical displays of shifting coloured light are strange and beautiful enough to transcend their scientific explanation, which says that the Northern Lights are caused by matter, or solar wind, from solar storms colliding with the Earth’s atmosphere.

The occurrence of flares on the surface of the sun makes it possible to predict the liveliness of the Northern Lights in areas in which they are common such as northern Finland, where they may be visible on clear nights up to 200 times a year. The Aurora is also visible in the south, including Helsinki, in areas of low light pollution as many as 20 times a year.