America’s northern most town entered polar night Thursday

The town of Barrow, home to just over 4,000.
The town of Barrow, home to just over 4,000.(USGS)
Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 5:31 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 18, 2021 at 10:01 PM EST
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(WHSV) - The sun set in Utqiaġvik (Barrow), Alaska at 1:29 pm local time Thursday and won’t be rising until January 22nd. That’s 65 days without sunlight!

Utqiaġvik is a small town located on the Arctic Ocean in northern Alaska with a population of just over 4,000 people. It sits at 71.2° latitude, which is beyond the Arctic Circle, where anywhere to the north experiences at least one 24-hour day and one 24-hour night. Of course as you head more north, this extended period of daylight and nighttime continues to increase.

The opposite effect happens in the summer. The sun will rise on May 11th next summer and not set until August 2nd. Utqiaġvik is known for its bitterly cold temperatures in the winter. The average high in February is four degrees below zero, with average lows nearly twenty degrees below zero! The record low for Utqiaġvik is 56 degrees below zero, and that’s not even factoring in the wind chill!

Our 5pm sunsets are not fun that’s for sure, but it could be much worse. On the shortest day of the year known as the winter solstice, we will still have 9.5 hours of sunlight.

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