Anton Petrus/Getty Images
Andrea Romano
January 12, 2018

With time changes, earlier sunsets and colder weather forcing us all inside, most people’s winters are cold and dark. But there are some people in the world who truly experience the darkest winters on earth.

Northern Russians who live near the Arctic Circle had been living in winter darkness for 40 days straight until Friday, when the cold, winter sun finally rose.

According to The Moscow Times, residents shared their joy at their first glimpse of daytime — about 30 minutes worth — after weeks of going without. (People living in other parts of the world clearly do not know the meaning of Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder like those who live in the Arctic.)

The extreme “nighttime” is called polar night, which is when darkness descends for more than 24 hours. It only occurs in places in the northernmost or southernmost parts of the earth. The opposite of this phenomenon is polar day, or the midnight sun, when the sun doesn’t set for more than 24 hours.

According to the Moscow Times, residents of Murmansk, Russia gather at the city’s highest point, known as “Solnechnaya Gorka” (Sunny Hill) to see the year’s first sun rise after the long polar night.

Until next winter, residents will be able to enjoy some sunnier days.

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