Monday, 1 August 2016

6 Months of Daylight and 6 Months of Darkness in Some Parts of the Earth

Do you know that there are places on Earth that experience 6 months of daylight, the next 6 months would be of darkness. I mean, for the 6 months, there is daylight all through the day, and then there is 6 months where there is darkness all through the day. These places are located in the north and south poles. That is, in the Arctic Circle (north pole), and in the Antarctic Circle (south pole). Antarctic circle is mostly ice, but in the Arctic Circle, you have countries like Finland, Russia, Canada, Norway, and Sweden having their northern parts experiencing this phenomena.

I studied Geography at the University, so I totally understand how this is so. But, my problem is finding the simplest way to explain why it is so. Let me try my best without making it look like a boring lecture. But for those that don't want to know why this phenom is so, you are okay knowing that northern parts of Norway, Canada, Finland, Russia, and Sweden experience what is close to 6 months of daylight and 6 months of darkness through the year. Oh, yea, and parts of Alaska (state in USA) too. If you have seen the Al Pacino movie, Insomnia (2002), there is a part where He asked some people to take him to a school he was meant to begin his investigation and they laughed. It was daylight but was actually night time in the small Alaskan town, and the school had already closed for the day.

Let me start he explanation of this phenomenon from the basics. Through a typical day, it appears that the Sun moves. It looks like it comes up at dawn, is at the top of the sky by mid day, and drops/sets by evening time. But what really happens is that the Sun is mostly stationary, but the Earth rotates on its orbit, which causes us to have daylight and darkness, and that appears like the Sun is moving around the Earth. Apart from rotating (which takes 24 hours/a day to complete), the Earth also revolves around the sun. This takes 365 ¼ days (the ¼ accounts for why we have leap years).

Looking at the diagram below, you can see how the Earth revolves around the Sun, and you can also see how Arctic circle might be exposed to constant sun light than most parts of the Earth for 6 months and then 6 months of darkness at another time. This is the same thing experienced at the Antarctic circle too because of its location at the south pole. Please note that the darkness we are talking about is not like total darkness, but like how it is at dawn just before sunrise.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...