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Alaska Life

Summer is now: Anchorage enters its 28 lightest days of the year

The sun sets next to Mount Susitna across Cook Inlet from Anchorage. (Bob Hallinen / ADN)

Anchorage has entered the height of its summer daylight hours.

For the next 28 days, the sun will just barely dip below the horizon at night, leaving a lingering glow known as civil twilight.

Civil twilight means the sun is no more than 6 degrees below the horizon, according to Brian Brettschneider, a climate researcher at the University of Fairbanks International Arctic Research Center.

"It's usable twilight," Brettschneider said in an interview last year.

On June 21, the longest day of the year, the sun will rise at 4:20 a.m. and set at 11:42 p.m., according to the U.S. Naval Observatory.

That said, cloudy skies can make evenings far darker.

"I've done a few summer solstice Flattop hikes at midnight and when it's not cloudy, the visibility (light) on the hike is great," Brettschneider wrote in a Twitter message Thursday, referencing the popular Anchorage hike. "If there's a thick overcast, having a headlamp helps a lot."

Meanwhile, the Interior Alaska city of Fairbanks sees 72 days of civil twilight each year.

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