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Beyond the Lone Islands

Monday, 21 June 2010

Summer Solstice

2010 06 19 Stockholm ljus natt

In the previous post about the royal wedding I included among my photos from the TV screen some views of Stockholm and the time of night they were taken. (Compare collage above.)

This caused some comments like “when does it get dark there”?!

Since today is also the Summer Solstice, I thought I might make a separate blog post about that.

The time of year does make a big difference at this latitude. Our capital Stockholm is at approx 59°N on the east coast. There today the sun rose at ~3:30 AM and set at ~10:10 PM. I live further to the south-west and here the sun rose about half an hour later, but at sunset the difference is only a few minutes.

At midsummer the sky is not completely dark even at midnight on a clear day. (What struck me after I made that comment yesterday though is that since we are on summer time/daylight saving time, midnight is not actually midnight...)

In the very north of Sweden, close to or above the arctic circle, the sun does not set at all around midsummer.

I have been above the arctic circle once in my life, in Kiruna - it was on a family summer holiday trip when I was 13. Mum had a cousin living there. Her father came from up north and actually she too was born in the north although they moved down south shortly afterwards.  In the late 1970s I made a trip of my own as far north as Piteå (below the polar circle but not very far from); that too was in the summer.  

Someone asked me in an email about the hours of our stores and restaurants, if they stay open as long as it's light. What do I know – I don’t stay up that long… LOL… More seriously, I suppose there are some places in typical tourist towns, especially seaside resorts and such places, that keep open longer than usual in the summer. (I doubt any of them go exactly by the sunset though.) I know some restaurants and cafés as well as some museums and other tourist attractions are only open at all in the summer. But then there are some inland towns that more or less shut down in July (because “everyone” goes away on holiday). In July, by the way, you should not expect to find (m)any of the regular staff in any workplace in Sweden! We are a strange people ;) and we like to take advantage of the short summer that we have...

So yes, even I often stay up a little longer than usual in the summer evenings. But I’m not really a night owl by nature – I need my sleep. In the summer I put up darker curtains in my bedroom (which faces north-east). That helps a little in the morning.

Now it’s really past my bedtime (10.40 PM). Tomorrow the days start getting shorter again… hm… Actually, midsummer often feels more like the beginning of summer rather than mid summer; July and August usually being warmer. This year, we have not had any real heat wave yet; some sunny days, but still rather cool nights and mornings. (For which I’m mostly grateful; hot nights are a worse problem sleep-wise than the light for me.)



Ginny said...

Wow! Thanks for this whole post about your seasons and light. I find it extremly interesting! I agree with you, heat disturbs my sleep much more than light. I suppose I can understand the July thing and people wanting to enjoy it after such a dark winter. Here's something real interesting-I thought that Daylight Savings Time was just an American thing. This is the first I've heard that any other country does it! This year they are starting our Daylight Savings earlier and ending it later to prolong it. This is because some want it all the time (me included, I love the light) and they are trying to compromise.

Sandra said...

this is really helpful and a lot of very interesign info for me. I would like the time of the year that is never gets dark. we go to bed by the clock and not by the sun, it is still daylight when we go to bed and is dark when we wake up. here in Florida day breaks at 6 and goes dark at 8:45. I just wish they would leave the time alone, doesn't matter which one we have to me, just stop chaning it. I would like your no dark timeof year, i am afraid of the dark and have been since i was born, so twilight would be good. thanks

GB said...

That's pretty much the same as here on the Isle of Lewis so far as the summer light is concerned.


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