Barrow In Alaska Has A 67-Day Long Nighttime Between November And January

The sun rose and set in Barrow in Alaska for the last time for over two months.

The annual phenomenon occurred in this remote Alaskan town this year on November 19. The town has recently been renamed Utquigvik and is located well north of the Arctic Circle.

The tilt in the Earth’s Axis is the reason behind this uncommon phenomenon. For any other town inside the Arctic Circle, including Barrow, it’s a normal occurrence. The tilt ensures that the Suns’s disc is not visible above the town for this long period.

Located on the Arctic Ocean, Barrow is now known as Utquigvik and is one of the largest settlements in Alaska of the Inupiaq in the northernmost American state. It also happens to be the northernmost community in America.

Despite the annual phenomenon, Barrow will not turn totally dark during this prolonged phase of darkness. Instead, the town will be lit by what is called civil twilight.

This phenomenon in Barow begins in the morning or ends in the evening when the geometric center of the sun In 6 degrees below the horizon. That gives it an effect of sunlight just before sunrise or immediately after sunset.

This is the effect that glows on the town of Barrow for several hours each day. And this phenomenon will continue for several houses each day till January 22, 2024. The sun will officially rise again on that day.

Meteorologist Allison Chinchar said that Polar nights are a normal phenomenon and are common to towns that are inside the Arctic Circle. And the sun will finally be seen again after January.

The Concept Of Civil Twilight In Barrow

Civil twilight, the phenomenon that will cover Barrow, is the brightest of the three phases of twilight. Despite it being termed as a dark phase, the sun remains hidden just below the horizon. So there is generally sufficient light to carry out most of the outdoor activities.

Twilight as we experience is the brief and rapidly changing time between day and night when the sun slips below the horizon. But its rays continue to light the fast-darkening sky. Astronomers have stated that there are three phases of twilight: civil, Nautical, and Astronomical twilight.

Each of these phases is defined by the angle of solar elevation. It is the position of the sun to the horizon. During the phase known as civil twilight, the geometric center of the sun’s disk is at most six degrees below the horizon.

As you move north in Alaska, it becomes darker. On December 21, the shortest day, the daylight hours change with your position. In Barrow, which is 330 miles north of the Arctic Circle, there will be 67 dark days.

Despite not witnessing the sunlight for around 67 days each winter, residents are blessed with the midnight sun the full summer. This gives them over 80 hours of continuous daylight, though it is not as bright as full daylight.

As we move to Anchorage, the amount of way less. Anchorage enjoys just 19 hours of daylight on December 21.

Barrow Residents Depend On The Ocean For Their Very Survival

What makes Barrow more unique is that it is not connected by road to the rest of the state. But it also happens to be the economic center of North Slope Borough. The population of this town is around four thousand. Most people survive by hunting seals, whales, walruses, polar bears, caribou, and waterfowl. Fishing is also a common activity in the lakes and rivers nearby, and from the Arctic Ocean.

The Inupiat first arrived in this area at around 500 AD. Barrow is also in the news for environmental reasons. The Arctic Ocean is warming twice as fast as the rest of the ocean on the planet. Edward Itta, the mayor of Barrow, has termed the town as ‘ground zero’ when it comes to climate-change studies.

Source List:

  1. https://www.foxweather.com/weather-news/arctic-cricle-utqiagvik-town-light
  2. https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/alaska-town-wont-see-sun-trnd/index.html

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