A Polar Night Blog

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    A Willow Tit enjoys the sun, photo courtesy of Josh Crompton

    Day 19 continued

    As I've mentioned there is a little stretch of low sunlight around 12pm, which can be like more equatorial daytime if the sky is clear enough. Until recently I had taken this for granted though have now experienced how gloomy a day can be with cloud and fog over the sun-time. The forecast for my 19th day is fair to clear sky, in two days I begin to cycle away from sunlight hours again so I spend as much of the light time I can out doors soaking up scraps of vitamin-D.

    Above: Mount Saana, sun and lake Kilpisjarvi panorama

    Below: a fine icicle found in the snow

    Below that: Hare prints in snow

    Below are a series of photos from the day taken by Josh

    Detail of Mount Saana

    Sun rise-set over mountains and lake

    The clearer sky brings with it a sharp drop in temperature, which in turn sets the lake off on a vocal account of ice expansion. A clear sky can also mean Northern Lights. With the forecast for cloud cover the rest of the week and our leaving scheduled this Monday we hoped we'd get one last glimpse so Josh and I shambled out around 2000 and watched the faintest glowing arc of soft aurora twitching in a slow pulse between the mountains, Malla and Saana.

    Within 40mins or so the glow began to spread across the whole sky and soon it was lit near-full with a soft unearthly green glow reflecting off the snow. These light's weren't the sharp acidic ribbons that we'd seen before but perhaps an even more beautiful (than sensational) dusting of specteral luminescence standing out with all the stars against the blackness of still-moonless night.

    We SMS'd the other half of what has come to be the Kilpisjarvi Aurora safari team, Artists Joris and Nicky, who joined us just in time for a much more spectacular and dynamic light display. Like the last one we saw, this aurora cast rapidly undulating ventral fins of pink and purple, waving in tight ripples so much faster than I ever could have believed if I hadn't seen it. By 2130 the light simmered down and I raced to bed for my scheduled sleep.

    Kilpisjarvi Bio station's three artists in residence with faces obscured by movement, light and a camera.