"December 21st is one of two days when the suns rays will strike one of the two tropical latitude lines. At precisely 12:30am (lcl) or 05:30 (utc) on the 22nd of December the winter solstice begins and we will have absolutely no light from the Sun in Alert. When the sun is 12° below the horizon, this means that the closest spot on Earth that's still bathed in direct sunlight is more than 800 miles away. All the light that you could see has struggled through 800 miles of air and around the curve of Earth's surface. It takes fully 1200 miles of air to fully extinguish the Sun's light and end astronomical twilight.
The Arctic gets just as many hours of sunlight as anywhere else on Earth — in fact, just a tad more. The reason the Arctic is cold is that the Sun never gets very high above the horizon, so its light always hits the ground at an oblique angle. The flip side is that the Sun also never gets very far below the horizon. Most of the time that the Sun's not up in the Arctic, it's skimming just below the horizon and yielding one or another flavour of twilight." (Sometimes invisible to the naked eye)
However, for today and the next few days there is no Astronomical Twilight effecting us here in Alert that means the best star viewing that I have ever seen. So awesome!
I have never felt as much excitement and fear at one single point in my life. I saw the wolves.
These Arctic Wolves (Canis lupus arctos) are one of the few natural inhabitants of this area. They have been native here for over two million years. This type of wolf is the only of its kind that is not threatened. This is due to the fact of rarely encountering humans. This means, instead of fearing to be hunted, they are more curious when they see us. Although inquisitive, a long drawn out yawn and one glimpse at their sharp teeth was enough to make me back away.
They are a perfect balance between scary and beautiful. I sat, crouched outside the door talking to this animal, that I know could tear me to shreds if it felt the need to. Swallowing my fear and trying to remain calm, my heart pulsed in my throat (again) but I tried not to let it show through to my exterior. We all know that animals sense your fear, he must have known how truly scared I was. Petrified.
It lied down and licked at the snow, rubbing its paws on its face like a puppy. It was in this moment that I wanted to run over, snuggle into its soft white fur and let him warm me up. I named him Snowy - original I know. He almost had a smile and looked friendly. Friendly enough to eat me, I quickly reminded myself. I will definitely be keeping my distance but it was such an amazing feeling to be so close to such an intriguing and wild animal.
Although Snowy was weary around us, flinching at my every move, we encountered the pack later on. The wolves behavior changed quite visibly to pack mentality. They became more aggressive and were quick to let you know that you were in their territory. I wasn't leaving the truck this time that's for sure. There were about 10 of them running in circles around our parked vehicle and it was in this moment that it reminded me we are invading their land and home, not vice versa.
Due to relatively little contact with this species, little is known about them. I feel incredibly privileged to be able to say I saw Snowy, six feet in front of me. It was an amazing experience I won't soon forget.