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The Novaya Zemlya Effect

Dutch navigator Willem Barents was on an expedition to find a trade route through the Arctic Circle in 1597. His ship and crew were iced in and had to spend the winter on a small island.

On November 3 they saw the sun for the last time as it set below the horizon. They didn’t expect to see the sun again until February 8.

But on January 24, 1597, three of the crew caught a glimpse of the sun a good two weeks before its predicted return. Captain Barents did not believe them since he knew that the sun was well below the horizon. Three days later, the sun made another appearance, and Barents himself witnessed it along with many crew members. Once the explorers returned to the Netherlands, Gerrit de Veer, one of the crew, published an account of their observation. Barents, unfortunately, had died during the return journey.

At least the Barents Sea was named after him. Most scientists of the day did not believe the accounts of the unusual sunrises, though. It took several other observations, hundreds of years apart, for the Novaya Zemlya Effect to be believed, and eventually, understood. It has to do with temperature inversions and light bending, which is explained at Amusing Planet. -via the Presurfer    

(Image credit: Brocken Inaglory)


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