Wednesday marks the winter solstice, when the Earth tilts the furthest away from the sun on its axis and results in the shortest day of the year. But from here on out the number of daylight hours will slowly start to increase and by Thursday, parts of Norway can enjoy a full extra minute of daylight.
And when the days are as short as they are right now, every minute helps.
In Oslo on Wednesday, the sun rose at 9.18am and will set again at 3.12pm, giving residents of the capital a scant 5 hours and 54 minutes of daylight. In Bergen, Wednesday will only deliver 5 hours and 45 minutes of sun, while Trondheim will have to settle for just 4 hours and 30 minutes.
Of course, it’s even worse north of the polar circle, where the sun will stay below the horizon until late January in Tromsø and until mid-February on the Arctic archipelago Svalbard.
But that winter darkness may have a mental health benefit for Norway’s most northerly residents. Academics have suggested that people living in extreme northern regions may be better equipped to cope with the physical and mental challenges posed by long, dark winters. The trick, it seems, is to altering their perception, using a so-called wintertime mindset to see the cold temperatures and short days as a challenge.
So buck up out there! Brighter times are ahead.