Saturday, March 11, 2017

Crossing Arctic Circle

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Arctic Circle

The Arctic Circle is the most northerly of the abstract five major circles of latitude as shown on maps of the Earth. It marks the northernmost point at which the noon sun is just visible on the northern winter solstice and the southernmost point at which the midnight sun is just visible on the northern summer solstice.

The region north of this circle is known as the Arctic, and the zone just to the south is called the Northern Temperate Zone. North of the Arctic Circle, the sun is above the horizon for twenty-four continuous hours at least once per year (and therefore visible at midnight) and below the horizon for twenty-four continuous hours at least once per year (and therefore not visible at noon); this is also true within the equivalent polar circle in the Southern Hemisphere, the Antarctic Circle.

A sign on the Vikingen island marking
the Arctic Circle in Norway
‘Crossing the line’ to the land of the Midnight Sun or the Northern Lights

An invisible line sweeps across Sweden, Finland, Russia, Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Iceland – a line that also splits Norway in two.

You will see the line marked on a globe on the small islet of Vikingen, in Rødøy between Nesna and Ørnes. To the west of this point is the island of Hestmannen, which was depicted in the Nordland legend about the trolls that were suddenly turned into stone and became the mountains along the Nordland coast. Eastward, Mefjorden continues up to the Svartisen Glacier.

Crossing Ceremony

Hurtigruten Voyages often celebrate crossing the line with rites such as whistle signals and symbolic onboard baptisms.  There was a ceremony held during our voyage.   Certificates were awarded to those that completed the ceremony which included baptism with ice water.

The exact location of the Arctic Circle varies each time you travel past it. Over the course of a full year, the virtual line shifts by almost 50 feet – while Vikingen and the Arctic Circle Monument remain firmly in place. The exact position of the line depends on the angle of the Earth’s axis compared to the plane of the Earth’s orbit.
Additional photos can be found on our Norway Shutterfly page

Arctic Circle (Northbound)
King Neptune

Click on the image to the right for more Blog posts about this trip.

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