Polar Day and Polar Night

Neumayer station is located at the edge of Antarctica, at about 71° south and 8° west. It is 2000 km away form the geographical South Pole. Since the station is still south of the southern polar circle, it is influenced by the effect of polar day and polar night. The sun does not set between November 15th and January 27th when it is polar day and it does not rise between May 21st and July 22nd during polar night.

Although the sun does not rise during polar night, it gets close to the horizon during midday and there is a period of twilight. On June 21st, which is winter solstice on the southern hemisphere, the sun is furthest away from the horizon and the period of twilight is shortest. While there is a clear sky, the brightness of the twilight is still enough to work outside without any artificial light. In addition, the snow reflects the light. On cloudy days, multiple reflections between the snow and the clouds additionally enhance the brightness. The moon of course rises during the polar night as well. When the sun rises, it does so in the east, reaches its highest point in the north and sets in the west.

  • Civil Twilight: The sun is less that 6° below the horizon. Reading without artificial light is still possible.
  • Nautical Twilight: The sun is between 6° and 12° below the horizon. The horizon is still visabe.
  • Astronomical Twilight: The sun is between 12° and 18° below the horizon. Bright stars are visable