The sun returns to Barrow, Alaska

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

After 64 days of darkness, the sun returned to Barrow on Jan. 22, at 1:17 p.m, according to calculations by the U.S. Naval Observatory.

The sun will remain above the horizon for just 44 minutes, until 2:01 p.m. But never fear, as the daylight will be making leaps and bounds in coming days. On Jan. 23, the sun will rise at 12:56 p.m., and set at 2:24 p.m., a gain of 44 minutes (by Naval arithmetic) from the day before.

The sun hasn’t graced the northernmost community in the United States since it set on Nov. 18, 2012, at 1:31 p.m.

But science writer Doug O’Harra notes that even during the darkest days of winter, Barrow has a “sense of solar presence” thanks to civil twilight, which is basically the span of time with daylight but not direct sunlight. On Jan. 22, civil twilight illuminates the town for more than 5 hours.

In contrast to the long, dark winter are the endless days of summertime – starting May 11, the sun will be a permanent fixture in Barrow, with 24 hours of possible sunlight enveloping the town until Aug. 2, when it sets at 12:57 a.m.

You can calculate charts for your own locale’s sunrise and sunset, or civil twilight, at the U.S. Naval Observatory website, or the duration of daylight at a single location.