Other terms you will hear are Solstice or Equinox.
attempts to explain the phenomenon, and you can follow this link
to find out how we celebrate it, so you can join us.
Alaska's high latitude makes it subject to extreme hours of
summer daylight and winter darkness.
The Arctic Circle marks the
southern limit of the area where the sun does not rise on the winter solstice or set on
the summer solstice. Continuous day or night ranges from one day at the Arctic Circle to
six months at the North Pole. The imaginary line of the Arctic
Circle extends in an arc across the upper third of Alaska,
at approximately 66 degrees 33' north of the equator. This
is the latitude at which both summer and winter solstices
"Solstice" means the point at which the
sun is at its greatest distance from the equator. In the
summer, this occurs on June 20 or 21, making that the
longest day of the year.
The Polar day begins around March 21 when it is vernal equinox and the sun is
right above the equator and the day and night are equal. At the Arctic Circle, the Polar
day reaches its climax around June 21 when the solar orb is so high that at no point does
it drop below the horizon.
[Photo by Alaska
Division of Tourism]
Viewing & Celebrating
This phenomenon can also be seen from high points much nearer
to Fairbanks. If you are lucky enough to be visiting on June 21, be sure to bring your
camera. If you miss it, you can buy postcards showing the sun set that never sets, with
time lapse photography.
Fairbanks residents go a little crazy on June 21, staying up all night for ball
games under the midnight sun, and shopping in stores that stay open late. Check our calendar for events, as well as our special midnight
sun events page.
The Polar night begins around Sept 23 when it is autumnal equinox and
reach its climax around Dec 21 when the sun can no longer be seen above the horizon, even
It's the earth axis inclination to its course around the sun which causes the
seasons, midnight sun and the midwinter darkness. It's also the same inclination that
defines where the Arctic circle goes.
In winter, the day of solstice occurs on December 21 or 22.
This day has the shortest length of daylight. At the Arctic
Circle the sun does not rise at all on this day, but in the
small town of Barrow (northern most point of Alaska) , the
sun does not rise at all for 67 days.