Sunrise, Sunset

Barring the presence of a secret Russian submarine, I believe myself to have been the northernmost person on Earth at the time this was taken.

In the background of the photos included in this post, chunks of sea ice are distinguishable. These are a fair distance away and rise probably 20 feet into the air. I have heard stories about times when the wind blows strongly against the shore piling ice high, covering the area where I am seen standing.

Interesting to learn about are polynyas, open areas of water occurring in what would normally be ice covered areas. Ice bridges are one of the causes of polynyas, and two of these often occur near (relatively) to Alert. Ice Arches and Cathedrals and The Effects of Ice Arches are two interesting links.  The first shows the arches in the Nares Strait and the second explains the ramifications of such events in more detail.

October 13, the sun rose and set for the last time until February 27. To mark this occasion the station held a Sunset Ceremony Friday, October 14. This consisted of an immense bonfire and hot chocolate by the sea. Although the sun had officially set, light levels certainly remained suitable for work a while longer. It was at least another two weeks before a headlamp was needed to perform my outdoor duties.  I have learned about the different names used to categorize levels of sunlight. For further information check out Time and Date – Alert.

Above Horizon:                0˚-180˚                  Day

Below Horizon:                 0˚-6˚                      Civil Twilight

6˚-12˚                    Nautical Twilight

12˚-18˚                  Astronomical Twilight

18˚+                       Night

The GAW lab operator, Melody and me.

At 82°30’05” North, Alert does not see a full 24 hours of night. December 21, the equinox, will have a full 5 hours and 55 minutes of astronomical twilight, the remaining hours being night.  As far as I have seen, the two are difficult to differentiate unless the sky is devoid of clouds and the moon is hidden. A full 24 hours of astronomical night occurs above 84° 34′ in latitude. Also interesting to learn was that the Arctic Circle marks the point above which there occur annually at least 24 continuous hours of sun above the horizon and 24 hours below. According to McGill the Arctic Circle is currently shifting North at a rate of 15 m a year due to slight variations in the planet’s tilt.


This is the medical “BV”, a transport vehicle.

One thought on “Sunrise, Sunset

  1. That is such an impressive bonfire – thanks so much for your description of the many different gradations of night or twilight. What an incredible experience you’re having.


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