Short version: Not a fan.
For those loyal readers in the Northern Hemisphere, the days have been getting shorter since late June. In a few more days, this trend will reverse and the days will get longer. This event, known as the winter solstice, is much more pronounced the farther north you go in the world. After you cross the Arctic Circle, you get a period known as polar night, where the sun doesn’t come up for several days to several months depending upon how far north you go. Even as latitudes approach the Arctic Circle, however, days get dramatically shorter. Which of course brings me to Oslo.
The Arctic Circle passes through the middle of Norway (click on the map to the right to enlarge), meaning Oslo lies well south of it. Compared to most of the rest of the world, though, Oslo is very far north. In fact, the only major cities as far north as Oslo are Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, and Anchorage.
According to wunderground.com, the sun rose at 9:18 this morning and set at 3:07 this afternoon, for a total daylight of 5 hours and 48 minutes. In the past two weeks, I’ve noticed that we also haven’t gotten any sunlight at all. I don’t know whether this is typical for the few weeks right around the winter solstice or if we have just happened to have had really bad weather. I’ll try to remember to post about it next year and if any readers have an idea, post it in the comments.
Either way, the lack of sunlight and minimal daylight is pretty terrible. I have heard the opposite version of this during the summer is amazing though. If you’re curious, I took a few pictures (after the jump).
I took these pictures out my apartment window at approximately 2:45 yesterday afternoon. I’m not sure they accurately convey how little light there actually was, but they give some idea. The really weird thing about the past few weeks is how it has been completely overcast all the time. As a result, it hasn’t been much brighter than this, even around noon. The first two pictures face west and the last one faces south.
This picture was taken first and the automatic flash popped on. Thus, it appears darker than it actually looked outside.
This is basically the same picture with the flash turned off. It actually appears brighter than it looked outside. Notice the lights on across the street.
This picture is the other direction down the street, toward the harbor. It is a bit brighter because it is facing south/southwest, because of the traffic lights, and because of the car lights. It also appears brighter than it actually looked like at the time.