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working in the Arctic


Scientists are often seen as being people who wear white coats and are stuck in laboratories all day. Not me, I go to work in the Arctic. Wear a white coat here and you could disappear.

Contrary to what you might think, the Arctic isn't an empty space covered in snow with only a few seals for company. In the summer it gets warm enough to wear shorts and a T-shirt, maybe even do a spot of sunbathing! It's certainly warm enough for mosquitoes (which can be real pests) and a thing called a deerfly whose bite can take real chunks of skin from you if you're not careful.


One great thing about the Arctic is that in summer it's always daylight. The Sun stays above the horizon for months on end (in the winter of course it never gets light so it works out fair in the end!). Norwegians like to make the most of the endless Sun and I've seen people out skiing or working in their gardens at 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning.


My workplace is near Tromsø, the main city in the north of Norway whose population of around 70,000 is spread over lots of islands. The telescope I use is close to a waterfall in the forest that lines a valley.

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This small town, tucked away in the north of Sweden was an iron-mining town, but now it's also Sweden's "Space City", where they have their rocket launching site.

(Mountain near Kiruna)




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