Midnight Sun in the Arctic
Toolik Field Station, North Slope, AK
June 16, 2019
Video of the Day:
The summer sun never sets on Toolik Field Station in the Alaskan Arctic. I took the below time-lapse last "night" from 8:31 PM to 7:53 AM, facing south toward Toolik Lake.
One of the oddest things I’ve experienced up here is the lack of darkness. At the beginning of my stint, I had trouble remembering to go to bed. To approximate “night” in my WeatherPort, I have to drop a blackout curtain over my WeatherPort window and wear a mask to cover my eyes. Here’s a diagram explaining the summer midnight sun in the Arctic circle.
The summer solstice is coming up on June 21. While the sun is already up 24/7 here at Toolik, it will be at its highest and brightest throughout the day on June 21. Subsequently, it sinks lower and lower in the sky from day to day and month to month, until the field station receives no light at all during the day (winter months). As the below diagram illustrates, this is due to the tilt of the 23.5° tilt of Earth’s axis in relation to the sun.
It will really be strange to experience darkness outside again when I return home to Texas!