Really? with Liam Healy: Arctic Night Has Begun


Utqiaġvik, AK (WVNS-TV) — Every year above the Arctic Circle the sun sets, and doesn’t come back up until the next year. For the residents of Utqiaġvik (UUT-kee-AH-vik), formerly Barrow, AK this day was yesterday Nov. 18. The sun won’t rise again until at least Jan. 22.

To many the thought of an “endless night” seems odd, because it only happens to residents of the Arctic Circle and the penguins of Antarctica. For most of us the sun rises and it sets. Every day, of every year. But due to the Earth’s 23.5-degree tilt, for approximately two months of the year areas above 66.5-degrees North (Arctic Circle), and 66.5-degrees South (Antarctic Circle) get stuck. In either perpetual darkness, or in constant sunlight.

Remember that between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres seasons are flipped. Our Winter time here in the N. Hemisphere, is the S. Hemispheres Summer. So when the Arctic Circle is in perpetual darkness, the Antarctic Circle is in perpetual day light and vice versa.

So while we may be seeing an earlier sunset due to the changing seasons, we should be grateful we see the sun at all!

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