NOAA Arctic Theme Page

Daylight, Darkness and Changing of the Seasons
at the North Pole
Illustrated with images from the North Pole Web Cam



· Diagram showing locations of the North Pole and sunlight for the four seasons
· Equinoxes & Solstices
· Arctic Sunrise & Sunset times
· World view of sunrise/sunset
· Definition of Sunrise, Sunset, Equinox, Solstice, and Twilight
· What causes Seasons?
· Mean temperatures by month

The darkest time of year at the North Pole is the Winter Solstice, approximately December 21. There has been no sunlight or even twilight since early October. The darkness lasts until the beginning of dawn in early March.


The sun rises at the North Pole on the Spring Equinox, approximately March 21, and the sun rises higher in the sky with each advancing day, reaching a maximum height at the Summer Solstice, approximately June 21.

May 13, 2002 09:45 UTC June 24, 2002 11:27 UTC
Shadows cast in May are long, because the sun is low in the sky. In June, near the Summer Solstice, the shadows are short, because the sun is higher in the sky.


  In summertime, the sun is always above the horizon at the North Pole, circling the Pole once every day. It is highest in the sky at the Summer Solstice, after which it moves closer to the horizon, until it sinks below the horizon, at the Fall Equinox.

The North Pole stays in full sunlight all day long throughout the entire summer (unless there are clouds), and this is the reason that the Arctic is called the land of the "Midnight Sun". After the Summer Solstice, the sun starts to sink towards the horizon.


At the Autumn Equinox, approximately September 21, the sun sinks below the horizon, and the North Pole is in twilight until early October, after which it is in full darkness for the Winter.

June 28, 2002 02:10 UTC August 30, 2002 01:43 UTC
Sun high in sky near Summer Solstice Sun low in the sky as Fall Equinox approaches

More Information :

Web cam Home and Acknowledgments
Daylight and Darkness at the North Pole
• All images 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002
• Moods of the North Pole 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002
• About the environment                 2003 2002
• About the instruments 2011 2010   2008       2004 2003 2002
• About the web cam(s) 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005   2003 2002
• Weather data 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

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