Utqiaġvik, Alaska, the northernmost city in the US, had its last sunrise of the year on Sunday. This city, which was previously called Barrow, won’t see the sun again for 65 days.
The next sunrise will appear on January 23. Utqiaġvik experiences polar night, which is a period of darkness in the winter with no sunrises that occurs in cities inside the polar circles.
According to Weather.com, “From mid-November through late January, the sun doesn’t rise north of the Arctic Circle due to the tilt of the Earth away from the sun’s most direct radiation.”
Located 330 miles above the Arctic Circle, Utqiaġvik won’t be plunged into complete darkness for the next two months. Instead, it will experience “civil twilight,” which happens when the sun is 6 degrees below the horizon and creates a little illumination to see things outside. Civil twilight lasts for six hours a night, but it will decrease to three hours a night by the end of December.
Utqiaġvik’s 4,400 residents are used to the polar night. The city is home to a large population of indigenous Iñupiaq people and houses several research stations.
After 65 days without sunlight this winter, residents can look forward to 80 days without a sunset starting in May.