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Polar nights draw to a close in northern Finland

Residents of Finland’s northernmost reaches will see the sun shake off its winter slumber Sunday as it dares to rise briefly above the horizon. The short-lived episode marks the end of the two-month period known in the far north as the polar nights.  

Kaamos Tenolla
Kuva Tenon varrelta Poroniemen päältä Loppiaispäivältä. Viikko vielä ja sitten odotettu valoilmiö tulee taas esiin. Image: Antero Isola

On Sunday January 17, the sun will emerge from a brief winter exile to reclaim its place in the heavens – albeit for less than half an hour between 12.18 and 12.43.

Celebrants in Finland’s northernmost town, Utsjoki, will gather at different strategic locations – a sports field, a hill, a lakeside – to welcome the sun back to the north.

Organisers have promised locals and visitors grilled sausages, coffee, tea and other light refreshments as part of the festivities, which will be capped by a community sing-along.

The last time the people of the far north saw the sun rise above the horizon was on November 26.

But the polar nights aren’t all doom and gloom. As the sun temporarily exits the celestial stage, the equally dazzling phenomenon of the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis captures the spotlight.

The period of persistent twilight is ideal for tracking and observing the spectacular light display created as charged particles from the sun collide with the earth’s atmosphere.

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