December 21st, the winter solstice, is known by another name to locals in Fairbanks, AK: The Darkest Day of the Year. On this day, Fairbanks (and much of the rest of Alaska) is enveloped in darkness for all but about three to four hours in the middle of the day. To those who have never experienced this darkness it may seem extremely depressing but local Alaskans know how to enjoy themselves in the midst of all of the darkness. This year especially offers many outdoor spectacles in the form of the northern lights (A.K.A. the aurora borealis). The sun is nearing the end of its 11-‐year sunspot cycle that allows for the northern lights to be extremely active and extra beautiful this winter.
This is a photo of a rare orange color of aurora behind an Alaskan log cabin. It was taken on the darkest day of the year 12/21/12.
December 21st is a day of almost complete darkness, but it brings hope because it is also the day that Alaskans begin to gain daylight back. This year brings amazing displays of the aurora, so many Alaskans aren’t complaining about the record cold temperatures and the darkness. We are just enjoying Mother Nature’s light show!