Daylight

Daylight

Hours
Alaska Sunset

The farther you travel toward the north pole, the longer the days are in summer and the shorter they are in winter. During the summer months, Alaska enjoys extended daylight hours in all parts of the state. In Barrow, Alaska's northernmost village far above the Arctic Circle, the sun doesn't set for 84 days! In Anchorage, the summer sun sets as late as 10:42 p.m. and
even in Southeast Alaska,
the southernmost section of

the state, the darkest hours of the summer night have the appearance of twilight. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as the Midnight Sun.

The Midnight Sun occurs because of the earth's tilt in relation to its orbit around the sun. The earth's axis between the north and south poles is angled 23.5 degrees away from the plane of the earth's orbit around the sun.

Globes are tilted to illustrate this angle. As the earth travels around the sun, the seasons are determined by where the poles are pointed. The farther north or south you travel from the equator, the more dramatic daylight changes are. Around June 21st, the north pole is pointed toward the sun, so as the earth rotates on its axis, the sun appears to move in a circle in the sky without falling below the horizon. The lowest latitude at which this happens is the Arctic Circle. On the other side of the world in Antarctica, the south pole is pointed away from the sun and so it does not appear at all during this time. It is below the horizon. Summer in the far north is winter in the far south.

As the earth continues its orbit, daylight in the far north diminishes until by the fall equinox, around Sept. 21st, the entire planet gets exactly the same amount of daylight-12 hours. Then, as the earth makes its way another quarter of the distance around its orbit, the north pole points ever farther from the sun and daylight hours continue to shrink while in Antarctica, summer is underway. In Barrow, the northernmost village in the state, there is no daylight for 64 days in the heart of the winter. The sun does not rise above the horizon. Deep winter in the northern hemisphere is summer in the south. Daylight grows in the north again as the pole begins its swing back toward the sun and by about March 21st, the spring equinox, everyone has equal daylight again.

Alaska Facts

State Nick Name: "The Last Frontier" - the name Alaska is derived from the Aleut word "Aleyska," meaning "great land."

State Motto: "North to the Future"

State Capital: Juneau, located in the Southeast region of Alaska, has a population of 31,275 (2010 Census)

Alaska Map:

Map of Alaska

Alaska Flag:

Alaska state flag is dark blue with yellow stars in the shape of the big dipper with the North star

NOTE: The State of Alaska is not responsible for the content/information on any site outside of a State of Alaska department.