Dear Mr. Beckendorf,

 We loved your midnight sun picture!!

We have a question about the the sun......

 Does it ever get dark in Antarctica right now?   How about in the winter, are there days that you will not see the sun?


Fascinated 2nd graders in Minnesota

Kirk Beckendorf

Hi Minnesota 2nd Graders,Thanks for writing.
Right now the sun does not rise or set at all, it just spins around the sky. In fact, it doesn't even get close to the horizon.
The first sunset this year, here at McMurdo will be around Feb 20th. Sometime in April it will go completely below the horizon and not rise again until the end of August. How does that compare to the amount of daylight you will have in Minnesota?
I will only be here until the end of January. So I will not see a sunset wile I am here.
At the South Pole the sun will set in March and not rise again until Sept. 
Hope to hear from you again.

FAIR HAVEN STUDENT (not verified)


Kirk Beckendorf

Hi Minnesota 2nd graders,
Sorry for replying so long after you posted your message, somehow I missed yours.
So now as I write, in July, the sun never rises in Antarctica. However when I was there in January the sun never set.
Get this.... if you are working at the South Pole research station you will only have one sunrise and one sunset.... in an entire YEAR. The sun will rise in Sept and then stay in the sky until March when it will set but then not rise again until the next Sept.
Whoever came up with the saying of working from sunrise to sunset must not have ever been at the South Pole!!!
Hmmm.... so is a day at the Pole 24 hours long or 6 months long?
 Mr. B.

Guest (not verified)

why does the sun appear to go down in america but not really? What is the real explanation for this apparent movement?

Mr. B (not verified)

Good question, a lot of people don't understand this. The reason is because Earth is tilted on its axis, in combination with the fact the Earth spins on its axis once every 24 hours and that it revolves around the sun once ever 365+ days. Try looking at this website and see if that helps at all. It may help to visualize yourself standing on Earth looking out towards the sun.

Anonymous (not verified)

well the earth is on its axis and when the antarctic are tilted AWAY from the sun they dont have sunlight this is there winter but when they are tilted towards the sun its there summer. just like mr b said

Anonymous (not verified)

the reason is because the earth is moving across the sun so the sun looks like its going but its just going on the other side of the earth

corynne 6th grader (not verified)


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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 01/02/2008 - 08:49