A small town in Alaska, Utqiagvik has said goodbye to the sunlight on November 19th, 2020, for the next 60 days. The town is set to see the sun on January 22nd, 2021. This phenomenon occurs annually on winters and is called the polar night.
Not only Utqiagvik, but there are other towns in Alaska as well that experiences the Polar night. Since it is the first on the polar night location list for its far north location, the town experiences it earlier than the rest.
“Polar night is a normal phenomenon that happens every winter for Barrow (Utqiagvik) and any other towns inside the Arctic Circle,” said CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar.
The annual phase of darkness occurs because of the tilt of the Earth’s axis. This tilt makes it so that none of the Sun’s disc is visible above the horizon,” Chinchar added.
The polar night is experienced inside the polar circles – the northernmost and the southernmost regions of Earth. In this phenomenon, the night lasts for more than 24hours.
“Entering the phase of darkness doesn’t indicate that the town will be merged in darkness. Most of the daytime hours will go through periods known as civil twilight” clarified the Chinchar.
Although, the dark phase doesn’t literally mean that it would be pitch dark, but would experience some amount of light – which we see after sunset or before sunrise. “Think of what the sky looks like just before sunrise, or just after sunset. That is what they see for several hours a day, from now until January 22, when the sun will “officially rise” again,” says Chinchar
Utqiagvik experiences an opposite phenomenon in summers, where there is daylight 24/7 and is called Polar day or midnight sun.