A Polar Night Blog

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    The full moon over my bedroom, Kilpisjarvi Biological Station

    There are several reoccurring sources of light here including artificial light, sunlight, moonlight and, if lucky, the northern lights. Visibilty of each changes depending on circumstances, including the presence of more than one light source at the same time.

    Each light source produces its own type of luminescence, which can wax and wane depending on time, location of other light sources, atmosphere or another external force. In this second half of my project I am finding myself drawn more to exploring the nature of light in this dark place so I begin my 13th day at 0300 by rolling out into the cold (and making up the gaps in my observation hours) .

    Above: Sodium and halogen ligh cast into darkness 0700, gouache on paper

    Below: Sodium and halogen with darkness 0800, gouache on paper

    Above: Artifical light through trees 0830, gouache on paper

    Artificial light comes in many forms, from the speeding light-scored outlines of truckson the highway to the drifting head-lights of husky sledders on the lake. Around the station I can see warm (sodium?) street lights on the road and these cold conical (halogen?) 'moon-on-stick' lamps which are dotted about the buildings. The bedroom lights too cast peachy rectangles onto the snow in different shades depending on whether its coming through an open blind or curtain. I think of the Willy-wagtail 'night peepers' back in Australia peeping at streetlights like they were the moon. I wonder about how different levels of light pollution might affect the behaviours of animals.

    Above: full moon vs 'moon-on-stick'

    The moon on my 13th day is full. The forcast is clear and the northern lights active. Unfortunately my sleep schedule means that I will be in bed for the potential aurora show. Josh, however is not and manages to get some great pictures while I'm asleep. The following two days are marked my increasingly impressive northern lights. These are combined with a near full moon, clear weather, my waking hours and the arrival of two more Artists from Holland, Nicky Assman and Joris Strijbos.

    Below: Northern lights over Kilpisjarvi lake 07/12 Above: Northern lights over Mt Saana 08/12

    Below: Northern lights over Kilpisjarvi lake 08/12

    Above: Detail of northern lights 09/12

    Below: Northern Lights with pink and purple edge 09/12