Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Sky watch

When I came to Finland, the land of the midnight sun, 4 months back (yeah time sure flows by), all I could see was days and days on end, hardly ever night. The sun would be gleaming bright in our eyes beyond 10:30pm in the "night" and we would be sporting goggles. The "night" or rather a period of almost complete dimming of light (which never really resulted in a black night); in other words twilight, was barely 2 hours long from 1-3 am or so. Sleeping was a pain. Thick curtains was the only way out. Midnight in LaplandStill being the light sleeper that I am, I would wake up at 4am, 5am etc. only to discover that it was still "night". The scientific term for this would be "white night". It took me about a month and a half to see the nightsky at all. Civil twilight is supposed to last throughout summer in regions outside Arctic circle but above 60 degrees North. As a result, the nights are never dark and black. Whereas in India, immediately after sunset, the night takes over instantly, since the length of the twilight is heavily influenced by the lattitude. I had almost started to forget what stars in the night twinkled like. The first time I spotted a star here, which then appeared to be something bright perched on the top of a tree, it was *so* bright and twinkling, that I actually thought there was a sparking going on up there. I would regularly go out for late night walks all the time. At 12am I would set out and get a glimpse of the gradually darkening sky with its various hues. Something like that is unimaginable back home in India. Both geographically and socially. But then I had to be out. After all it was twilight.

It took me another couple of weeks, before I saw the moon out here. Again, the first time I saw it, I didn't realise what I was looking at. It seemed to merge with the bright street lights at first. Suddenly I realised that this light had a slightly different shape and colour than the regular streetlight.By the moon and the stars and the sky Now I know why they call it a pie in the sky. The moon is BIG and with just that crescent which makes it appear as if someone has hung it out there. I could see why fairy tales depict the sun and the moon in the same frame, as if they coexist! I saw that it is exactly that way here...the sunset doesn't exactly vanish into the black, inky darkness when the moon is already out with bright little stars. The whole sky seems to be divided into two - one having the aftereffects of a sunset, the other having a black night with a moonrise and twinkling stars.

The sun and the moon both, appear to follow slightly different paths than what we are used to (in India). The sun is never overhead. It cuts a low arc and is mostly near the horizon. Near the North pole, in fact, it is supposed to go around in a circle and never set actually (in the summers). Because of it being so close to the horizon, it's *really* dazzling, though we are quite used to (in India), the sun being a pinkish-orange ball when it's that close to the horizon. Again, the moon seems to oscillate up and down in the sky at least back home but not so here. It lies pretty low in the sky and never have I observed so far, the pronounced up and down oscillation (akin to a person nodding his head) in these parts of the world.

AnotherAurora Borealis phenomenon quite common around the Arctic circle is the Aurora Borealis or the Northern lights. So far, I have not been lucky enough to get a glimpse, though I have been monitoring solar activity on and off. Hopefully I shall see something when I go to the Arctic circle soon.

With time, of course the days started getting shorter (technically after the midsummer eve). About a month or so back, they reached normalcy (according to what I have been used to in India). Though, I noticed that the days were receding *quite* fast. Each day, the sunrise is about 3 minutes later and sunset, 3 minutes earlier. That would mean that on an average we are losing 6 minutes per day. That means that in a month, we would be short by 3 hours! It's already quite weird to have a sunrise at 8:15am or so. Soon it would be as dark as night at 9am. *shudder*. I am used to seeing a bright moon in the sky at 5pm in the evening courtesy my stint in Japan, but am not used to it being dark in the mornings also. If one outstretches ones thumb and index finger to the maximum and takes them to be the length of the day and then joins them together gradually, it would depict the way the days are getting shorter and the nights are gaining in. Eventually, there would be no "day" left at the point where the thumb meets the index finger. Technically this would happen completely at the Arctic circle, not Helsinki. It seems there're a lot of seasonal depression related ailments that happen in Scandinavian countries due to the "no light" factor. I hope to be out before the thumb meets the index finger!

13 Comments:

At 6:43 AM, October 25, 2005, Blogger Patrix said...

This must be a cool experience. I can't imagine capturing it on film or on video will even begin to do justice to it. Good for you :)

 
At 1:06 PM, October 25, 2005, Blogger Twilight Fairy said...

Patrix, it sure is cool.. and definitely it can not be done justice to, if captured on film ... it has to be experienced to inspire that awe.
In this particular post, I dont have any of my own photos :).. Maybe I'll post some of the moon later :D

 
At 5:30 PM, November 04, 2005, Blogger Prerona said...

awesome! i wish mujhe bhi ek wahaan assignment mil jaaye :(

 
At 10:23 PM, November 06, 2005, Blogger johnny boy said...

Heyyy fairyyy... :)
Cooool, so much to read about Finland!! The pics are really nice..
Hope u have got used to the bizarre occurences and dissapearances of the sun and moon, in Finland :))) Looks like you are having a nice time out there..
Wish u a belated happy diwali! :) Keep the posts coming, and put up more snaps, wud lovvvvve to see them.... Take care
john

 
At 10:39 AM, November 07, 2005, Blogger Twilight Fairy said...

Prerona, you can always go for a visit :)

Johnny boy, long time!
I have lots of snaps.. i dont feel like uploading them :p.. also, the posts would take some time in coming coz am keeping quite busy..

 
At 8:02 PM, November 12, 2005, Blogger johnny boy said...

"i dont feel like uploading them " -> Now how can i respond to this??? :D Rude to the core... lol :) jus kidding..
Anywayz... you take care, and get thru ur busy patch soooon!

 
At 10:17 AM, November 21, 2005, Blogger Aishwarya Rai said...

Hi Fairy, I have started blogging again. I was thinking if we had to shoot rape scene at night in Finland and we come during wrong season to Finland then we will have to shoot the same scene during the day. He he he. LOLz.

 
At 11:25 AM, November 30, 2005, Blogger Twilight Fairy said...

Johnny boy, will get around to some uploading soon :P :)

Aishwarya Rai, Viviiiieeeek se fursat mil gayee? If you land during the wrong season at Finland, you might not be able to shoot a "rape scene at night"..saara time din hee din hota hai :)

 
At 1:26 AM, December 07, 2005, Blogger Aishwarya Rai said...

Then instead of rape scene we will do some other scene. Vivek se fursat mil gayee. He is telling me, he dont like me, he like twilight ki fairy much more. Suchhee he said like that :-)

 
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