It isn’t just the northern lights that are magical up here. The sky has a clear ethereal blue colour. It always makes me think of watercolours, pale translucent colours that blend into the whiteness of the landscape. The colours of midwinter are understated. At first you think it is monochrome, but then you begin to notice delicate shades of blue and pink in the landscape.
December is officially a month of no daylight at all, but it is quite light in the middle of the day for a couple of hours, even in midwinter, because the twilight is bright. It is a luminous uplighting, lighter than experienced further south because of the flat top of the earth. It is a lovely soft bluish light.
When the sun begins to return it throws up pink and orange spots on the horizon and colours the skies pink for hours. Dawn and dusk last a very long time. When we first came here, expecting to hate the dark months of winter, we just sat all day staring out of the window, gawping at the skies. When the sun returns it just peeps over the horizon and then sinks not far from where it came up, all in the southern sky. Then within a few days it is visible for a couple of hours, lazily rolling along the horizon. As it begins to be fully visible the sky is flooded with colour, which – if you have been here for the darker months – can come as a bit of a shock to the system. Suddenly the brain is stimulated by deep shades of colour.
In the cold winter months effects in the sky created by the sun are exaggerated and enhanced by ice crystals in the air, creating huge haloes, ‘sun dogs’, light ‘pillars’, and yellow and orange candle shapes. The clouds that shoot over the sky can be ‘nacreous’ or ‘mother of pearl’ clouds – waving and colourful reflecting the winds of the stratosphere.
The light rushes back here at such a speed so that by the end of May there is daylight 24 hours a day. The midnight sun is well documented, and – strangely – isn’t so much to see, once you’ve seen it. It looks the same at ‘night’ as it does in the ‘daytime’, the variety and colour has gone, and there is no dawn or dusk twilight. But it it an experience to live in so much light. Light is stimulating, and sleep isn’t so easy, but you do get used to it. It’s addictive – it feels really bad the first day you are aware there is twilight again.
See some of the light in the sky at:
There’s a good website that describes the variety of effects that can be seen up here.