All of Alaska does not go dark in winter! But the further north you go, the darker it gets.
Shortest Day of the Year
On the shortest day of the year (December 21, winter solstice), you’ll find a range of daylight hours depending on where you are:
|Juneau||Inside Passage (Southeast|
|8:45 am||3:07 pm||6 hours 22 minutes|
|Anchorage||Southcentral||10:14 am||3:42 pm||5 hours 28 minutes|
|Fairbanks||Interior||10:50 am||2:41 pm||3 hours 42 minutes|
|Barrow||The Arctic: 330 miles|
north of Arctic Circle
|January 23||November 18||67 days of darkness|
Even though residents of Barrow, the northernmost town in Alaska, won't see the sun for 67 days come winter, they enjoy the midnight sun all summer - over 80 days of uninterrupted daylight. Anchorage enjoys a more modest amount of daylight in summer than Barrow - but that's still a good 19 hours between sunrise and sunset on the longest day of the year, Summer Solstice.
What The Arctic Circle Is
The Arctic Circle is the boundary of the true midnight sun. South of this line the sun rises and sets all year round.
Daily Gain In Daylight Hours
Likewise, the gain in daylight as you get closer to the equinox (midway between the solstices) increases as you head further north. On Spring Equinox, March 22:
- Barrow gains about 9 minutes of light per day
- Fairbanks, about 7 minutes
- Anchorage, about 6 minutes
- Juneau, about 5 minutes
In other words, Anchorage experiences the equivalent of a daylight savings time change every two weeks!