Photo by Sherman Hogue/Explore Fairbanks

Head’s up while you are in Fairbanks as the sky is a canvas for miraculous things any time of year. From April 22 through August 20, the time period hailed as the Midnight Sun Season, the sun floods the sky and people can witness sunsets merging with sunrises in the middle of the night. As the season progresses, the sun’s cyclical path across the sky elevates to a point where there is no darkness only light. Ultimately Fairbanks experiences 70 straight days of sunlight from May 17 through July 27.

The reason this happens is that for most of the Midnight Sun Season only civil twilight lies between the sunset and sunrise. An aeronautical term, civil twilight is when the sun does not go farther than 6 degrees below the horizon, thus the light emanating from below the horizon is bright enough for people in airplanes to identify objects on the ground. And boom! Perpetual sunshine.

A wooden foot bridge through a sunlit birch tree forest

A wooden bridge through Creamer's Field is illuminated by the Midnight Sun.
Photo by Amy Reed Geiger/Explore Fairbanks

In honor of the midnight sun and in order for people to understand how our far north local is impacted by the sun’s trajectory, Explore Fairbanks created the one-of-a-kind Midnight Sun Tracker for our website. The Midnight Sun Tracker calculates the number of daylight hours and minutes (including civil twilight) that people experience in the sub-Arctic and Arctic areas of Fairbanks, Coldfoot and Utqiaġvik 365 days a year. The Tracker allows users to change calendar dates and/or locations and fully realize the substantial shift in light dependent on the time of year.

Sunset - David W. Shaw

A stunning sunset over the Noatak River in Gates of the Arctic National Park.
Photo by David W. Shaw/Instagram: david_w_shaw

The centerpiece of the Midnight Sun Season is Summer Solstice, June 21, when the summer sun reaches and sustains its zenith for the longest period of time. Conversely, during the winter months daylight hours are significantly decreased culminating on Winter Solstice, December 21, which is the shortest day of the year. However, again because of the twilight factor, even the shortest day still allows for a substantial amount of light.

Sunset on Peger Lake - snowedin66

Early mornings provide a beautiful backdrop for serene sunrises.
Photo by Monica Thrasher/Instagram: snowedin66

Summertime’s everlasting sunshine unleashes all kinds of fascinating effects. All things green and growing undergo viral transformations leading to plate-sized dahlias, 300-plus-pound pumpkins and ever-so-lovely hanging plants. People are energized and out and about at all hours engaging in uncommon night time activities like playing golf, running, walking the dog, floating the Chena River or watching a baseball game by the light of the midnight sun.

Midnight Sun Baseball Game / Sherman Hogue

The Midnight Sun Baseball game is played annually on June 21 without the use of artificial lights.
Photo by Sherman Hogue/Explore Fairbanks

Up for chasing the sunsets and sunrises? There are multiple vantage points that afford beautiful views in and around Fairbanks. Photographing the sun as it sets and rises can be quite rewarding as the late-night light is often ethereal and golden.

Midnight Sun Hiking on Murphy Dome - Joe Sliker

Murphy Dome is an easily-accessible place for hiking as well as chasing sunrises and sunsets.
Photo by Joseph Sliker

With the chance of a truly rainy day low, the average temperature hovering at 70 degrees and the midnight sun simply refusing to set, our top-of-the world town enjoys one of the best summers the Earth has to offer.

Immerse yourself in the Midnight Sun by experiencing a 360-degree view of the Antler Arch and Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center. Drag your mouse around on the photo to change the angle.