It’s a sign of summer in Alaska, seemingly endless daylight. For parts of the state, the sun is up and won't set again for more than two months. Even Alaska's biggest city boasts more daylight than anywhere in the Lower 48. 


In Utqiagvik, the sun rose early Saturday morning and won’t set again until August. The sun will dip close to the northern horizon each night, but never below it; then climb high into the sky each afternoon. The next time the top of the sun will dip below the horizon will be at 2:08 a.m. on Aug. 2.

Don’t go putting away the blackout curtains just yet, just 51 minutes later, at 2:59 a.m. the sun will shine again. In fact, when it comes to the actual darkness of night— that doesn’t happen until Sept. 22. Even then, it’s just a measly 1 hour 29 minutes of total darkness.

Don’t feel too bad for them, come the winter solstice, the sun won’t even peek over the horizon. Just 2 hours 59 minutes of civil twilight before the dead of night returns.


Just a few days after Utqiagvik starts its long day, Fairbanks kisses nautical twilight goodbye. From May 17 to July 28, Fairbanks holds on to enough daylight that it’s easy to forget to turn on car headlights. By the summer solstice, the top of the sun dips below the horizon for just 2 hours 11 minutes.


Anchorage doesn’t trail too far behind Fairbanks in terms of daylight hours. The summer solstice boasts some 19 hours 21 minutes of daylight. Even though the top of the sun dips below the horizon, it’s just that. Civil twilight lasts the remaining 4 hours 39 minutes.

From May 17 to July 28, it’s just daylight and civil twilight. In fact, official night stops April 18 and doesn’t return until Aug. 25. That means, during that time, there is always the faint hint of the sun on the horizon — even in the dead of night. More notably, Nautical twilight, or enough light to see the glow on the glow on the horizon, lasts from May 8th through August 5th. 

In comparison, there is a lot more daylight than darkness. The sun never officially disappears in Anchorage. On the winter solstice there is still 5 hours 28 minutes of daylight, and 2 hours 4 minutes of civil twilight.


Alaska’s capital city is closest to what the residents of the Lower 48 consider normal. Even then, summer still brings about excessive amounts of daylight. On June 21, the sun rises at 3:51 a.m. and sets at 10:07 p.m. for a total of 18 hours 16 minutes of daylight.

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