Sun sets for the year up north

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Residents of northern Norway were seeing the last sunsets of the year last week and early this week, as the Arctic region enters what’s literally called “the dark time” (mørketiden). It is, in fact, a very special time of the year and actually can offer some spectacular light.

The setting sun leaves the sky awash in shades of pink over Kvaløya, Norway's fifth-largest island in Tromsø township. PHOTO: Morten Andersen

The sun will fall completely below the horizon on November 25 and won’t rise again until January 17. Because of the mountain ranges south of the city of Tromsø, though, residents there won’t see any sunshine from Monday (November 22) until January 20.

Another view over Kvaløya, taken on the afternoon of November 10. It's much darker now. PHOTO: Morten Andersen

The 21st of January is traditionally called soldagen (the sun day) because that’s when the first rays of sun in the new year would appear if the weather was good. The sun is at its lowest point on December 22, which is called vintersolhverev (the vernal equinox) and the day when the sun “turns” and slowly starts to rise again.

The city of Tromsø will lose its sunshine on Monday, because of the mountains. Here, the last rays of the year grace the summit of Tromsdalstind, at an elevation of 1,238 meters, at 1pm on Sunday. PHOTO: Morten Andersen