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This Town In Alaska Won’t See The Sun For More Than Sixty Days

by : Emily Brown on : 20 Nov 2020 18:21
This Town In Alaska Won't See The Sun For More Than Sixty DaysThis Town In Alaska Won't See The Sun For More Than Sixty DaysUniversity of Alaska

The Alaskan town of Utqiagvik is now facing ‘polar night’ after the sun set for the final time, and won’t rise again for the next two months, this week. 

The town, which was formerly known as Barrow, is located north of the Arctic Circle and experiences weeks of low light every winter due to the tilt of the Earth’s axis.

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Residents in the area were able to see the sun rise and set on Wednesday, November 18, but after it disappeared at around 1.30pm they won’t be able to see it again until January 22.

CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar described polar night as a ‘normal phenomenon’ which impacts Utqiagvik and other towns inside the Arctic circle.

Chinchar explained:

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[The] tilt makes it so that none of the sun’s discs are visible above the horizon.

The town won’t be perpetually dark as most daylight hours will go through periods known as ‘civil twilight’, which is akin to the light we experience just before sunrise or just after sunset.

Chinchar continued:

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That is what they see for several hours a day, from now until January 22, when the sun will “officially rise” again.

Carson Frank, an associate at the University of Alaska Museum of the North, told USA Today some Alaskans prepare for the darker months by taking Vitamin D supplements or relying on a ‘happy light’, which mimics daylight.

While Utqiagvik is not the only town facing the weeks of polar night, it is the first to experience it because of how far north it is located. While many people find it bad enough having to deal with the sun setting at 4.00pm, Utqiagvik’s polar night comes with the silver lining of polar day.

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Polar day takes place in the summer and causes 24 hours of daylight, also known as a ‘midnight sun’.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Life, Alaska, sun, weather

Credits

CNN and 1 other
  1. CNN

    This Alaska town won't see the sun for more than 2 months

  2. USA Today

    The sun has set on 2020 in this Alaskan town. 'Polar night' brings 66 days of near-darkness in America's northernmost town.