The northernmost city in the United States, Barrow, saw the sun rise above the horizon on Thursday afternoon, January 23, 2020.
That was the first time since November 18, 2019.
Barrow, the northernmost city in the United States, is located on the northern tip of Alaska far above the Arctic Circle.
After 65 days of darkness, the sun rose at 1:09 p.m. AKST on Thursday with a temperature of -17°F.
The animation below shows the first sunrise of the year in Utqiaġvik, Alaska, on Jan. 23, 2020.
Polar night in winter vs midnight sun in summer
The reason Utqiaġvik experiences long stretches of darkness in the heart of winter is due to the tilt of the Earth and the city’s close proximity to the North Pole.
Since the Earth orbits the sun on its axis, the North Pole is pointed away from the sun in the winter, resulting in an extended period of darkness around the Winter Solstice.
The exact opposite occurs during the Summer Solstice, resulting in weeks of constant sunlight in Utqiaġvik from mid-May into early August.
Each day in the coming weeks will be noticeably longer than the last, with Barrow seeing over four hours of sunlight each day by the start of February.
This trend will continue until May 10 when the sun will rise and remain above the horizon until August.
The sun will shine this week on Utqiaġvik, but temperatures are forecast to remain below zero through the end of January and well into February.