The wait is over: Sun to rise in US’s northernmost city for the first time in 65 days

Sun last broke the horizon in Utqiagvik, Alaska in November

Polar night occurs because the Earth is tilted away from the sun in the Northern Hemisphere cold season.
Polar night occurs because the Earth is tilted away from the sun in the Northern Hemisphere cold season.

Utqiagvik, formerly known as Barrow, Alaska, will watch the sun rise for the first time in more than two months Friday.

The sun will officially rise at 1:15 p.m., but it won’t stay above the horizon for long. The sun will set again just after 2 p.m.

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Just because the sun hasn’t been above the horizon since mid-November doesn’t mean it has been pitch black all day for the entire time.

At its brightest, however, it looks how twilight does in the evening as the sun gets close to, but never rises above, the horizon. It’s the same concept as to why there is still some light even after the sun sets.

A phenomenon known as polar night, when the sun remains below the horizon due to Earth’s tilt, occurs for locations within polar circles.

Map of the Arctic Circle.

Utqiagvik lies within the Arctic Circle. In the cold months, the northern hemisphere is tilted away from the sun, keeping the sun below the horizon for a good chunk of the season.

In the warm season, the opposite is true. The northern hemisphere is tilted toward the sun and, therefore, the sun won’t set for a couple of months. This is also known as polar day or the midnight sun.

As you may have noticed, the daylight is increasing across Central Florida as well. The sun will continue to get higher in the sky until the summer solstice or the first day of summer in June.


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