The USA's Northernmost Town Has Commenced 65 Days Of Darkness
Winter is few people's favourite season, except from winter sports enthusiasts' and those people who really, really love Christmas. Because aside from the presents and the skiing, what is there to enjoy? It's cold and worst of all, it is dark.
In the UK on 28 October, the clocks go back an hour and suddenly we are all commuting in the dark; the sun becomes a distant friend we fleetingly pass in the street.
But spare a thought for the people of Utqiaġvik, Alaska (formerly known as Barrow) - the USA's northernmost city. On Sunday afternoon, residents said goodbye to the sun, who won't be returning to the city for 65 days.
The dark period is known as 'polar night' and means the sun won't rise above the city until 23 January - however, it is not completely dark during until then. Utqiaġvik will enjoy something called 'civil twilight' for between three to six hours a day, and during these windows there is enough light for objects to be visible, according to The Weather Channel. That said, it will be well below zero degrees the whooole time.
The long, dark winter is caused by the earth's northern hemisphere tilting away from the sun during winter. The intuitive among you may have already realised that, accordingly, Utqiaġvik is compensated with two months of sun in the summer, from mid-May til August.
However, this probably isn't a fair pay-off. If you were forced to live in darkness for two months, you probably wouldn't wish to reimbursed with two months without darkness, going from one maddening extreme to another.
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So no next time you're bemoaning the long, cold winter, think of the 4,000 people of Utqiaġvik, and whatever the hell they're up to. Seriously, what do they do, other than wait?
I hope there's a beast of a party planned for 23 January.
Featured Image Credit: Utqiaġvik Sea Ice Webcam / University of Alaska Fairbanks