Northernmost point in the U.S. sees last sunrise until January 23

It doesn’t stay completely dark 24 hours, but still too dark for most of us.

Barrow, AK sees last sunrise for two months.
Barrow, AK sees last sunrise for two months. (Courtesy: University of Alaska - Fairbanks)

ROANOKE, Va. – While we currently see around 10 hours of daylight, there’s one place in the U.S. that is getting ready for more than two months with no official sunrise. That place is Utqiagvik, formerly known as Barrow, Alaska.

On Monday, November 18, the northernmost point of the U.S. sees its last official sunrise until January 23.

As the earth rotates around the sun, it does so at a 23.5° angle. As we get closer to the first day of winter, the sun’s direct rays inch closer to the Tropic of Capricorn (in the southern hemisphere). This means that the Arctic Circle is tilted away from the sun over the next two months.


On the contrary, once the sun’s direct rays are closer to the Tropic of Cancer (in the northern hemisphere), areas in the Arctic Circle won’t see the sunset from mid-May to early August.

Now, most of us think no sunrise means no light. That’s not necessarily true. The sun, while below the horizon, will still cast enough light for a few hours in Utqiagvik. That time shrinks the closer to the Winter Solstice we are.

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