Fortunate northerners saw a rare eclipse of the midnight sun on June 1.
During the Arctic summer, the sun dips low on the horizon but never sets. That means a solar eclipse is theoretically possible at any time. But this week’s eclipse was the first visible from Scandinavia since 2000, and the deepest since 1985. The next one won’t be for another 73 years.
“This was a rare event even up here,” said astrophotographer Bernt Olsen, who shot the photo above from his home in Tromsø, Norway. “I was lucky to get these shots.”
The event was almost rained out in Tromsø, with heavy clouds and rain arriving as the eclipse began, Olsen said. “But when the maximum occurred at 23:30, the sun again broke though the skies and started shining, but now partly hidden behind the moon.”
At the eclipse’s peak, about 58 percent of the sun was covered by the moon. The eclipse was also visible from Finland, Sweden, Siberia, northern China, parts of Alaska and Canada, and Iceland.
I have only experienced one solar eclipse, during the day a few years ago. I remember seeing the moon pass across the suns face, the sky go dim, and the shadows lengthen. When experienced through the day it certainly gives everything a very eery, empty light. A real twilight. But to have it happen at midnight? Must be weird when you live in a country that has months of eternal day and months of eternal night.