Our cottage is located latitude 69° north on a small island at Lake Inari. It is so north that arctic circle is 300 kilometres (185 miles ) south from there. Arctic or Polar circle has a couple very fascinating features. So it is the most southern latitude on northern hemisphere where the sun doesn´t set at all for one night during the whole year. On the other hand there is also one day when the sun doesn´t rise at all. The further north you go , the more nights without sunset there will be and also days without sunrise. One interesting thing is the movement of the arctic circle. It is crawling between latitudes 65° north and 68° north every 41000 years. The yearly transition is about 15 meters which is 45 feet and it is currently moving towards north. The declination changes in earth´s axis cause this phenomenon. The whole arctic area is sparsely populated and only one to two million people live on the north side of arctic circle. Most of these people are living in Siberia and Kola peninsula. In Finland there live approximately 150000 people. Compared to the population of the whole world the inhabitants north of arctic circle are only two thousandths. The people up north have their very special character due to extremely cold weathers and special light conditions ;) During summer time there is plentifully light day and night while in the winter the darkness is stunning. The day light lasts only a couple of hours and on its best it is only twilight. Usually during this slight light time the weathers are cloudy with lots of snow falls.
But if the sky is clear and you are lucky you might catch the northern lights. That is another speciality of the northern areas. Northern lights, also called aurora borealis are seen between latitudes 60° and 75° north. It is a natural light display in the sky, especially in the high latitude region, caused by collision of solar wind and magnetospheric charged particles with the high altitude atmosphere. The charged particles and solar wind are directed into the atmosphere by earth's magnetosphere. Northern lights exist in about 100 kilometres height above earths surface.
In old mythologies and myths the northern lights have different kinds of explanations. Skolts, natives of Lapland, and siberians believed that northern lights were blood of the deads who had died of bleeding wounds and they were still bleeding to the night sky giving it the colours. Sami people have their own story which is much brighter. They believed that the lights were breaking out to the sky when a fox was sweeping the snow blanket with its tail. In many scandinavian mythologies they are explained as harnesses of Valkyries which are blazing in the night sky.
I was lucky to see aurora borealis during my last visit to Lake Inari. I set my photo gear on the lake shore to take pictures of the sunset. It was a beautiful evening with only a few clouds in the horizon. The light was changing slowly and the night was darkening within many hours because in mid September the track angle of the sun is still gentle. Well before dark I recognised some light waves in the sky. As a young man I worked as roadie for several bands doing their lights, so I felt happy because I was fortunate to be in the frontline to watch natures own light show. I spent three hours on the shore enjoying and photo shooting the darkening sky with northern lights.