General Question

troubleinharlem's avatar

In Alaska, does the sun just go flat across the horizon?

Asked by troubleinharlem (7976points) March 4th, 2010

I’m watching “The Proposal” and there was a scene where the sun just went flat… does it really do that? If so, when?

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13 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

There is a video of it here. I’m not sure when that would happen.

ChocolateReigns's avatar

Wouldn’t that be in the summer? I think?

Adagio's avatar

@johnpowell thanks for the video link, never heard of that before :)

lilikoi's avatar

@johnpowell That was such a cool video, thanks!

@ChocolateReigns Yeah, because in the winter in Alaska it is dark 24/7.

Parrappa's avatar

I don’t know, but that video is awesome.

davidbetterman's avatar

No, it stays round. The Earth, however, is flat.

troubleinharlem's avatar

@davidbetterman ; No, I mean, the sun just traveled across the horizon.

Cruiser's avatar

@johnpowell THAT was awesome! Thanks! very very cool!! :)))

faye's avatar

Really neat to see, I’ve said for years I’d like to be up north June 21 and Dec 21.

nope's avatar

It does do that…though I’ve been to Alaska a couple times, it was only in the winter, and kind of in the southern part (Anchorage, Juneau). That said,in February, it was only light for about 5 hours, which was a little freaky. In the northern parts, in the summer (when the tilt of the northern part of the earth is towards the sun), there is not enough EARTH in the way for the sun to appear to go down over the horizon, hence you end up with basically 24 hours of sunlight. I’ve heard tales of baseball and softball being played at 2am. Those Alaskans are a bit crazy. In a loveable sense.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

This is a result of axial tilt of the Earth with respect to the orbital plane. It is really just a pronounced extension most people observe at more moderate latitudes of summer days being longer than winter days.

The Arctic Circle is defined geometrically as the latitude where the Sun (if it were just a point) would just kiss the horizon at the greatest extent of setting on the June solstice (and likewise would kiss the horizon during the December solstice, never actually rising that day).

mattbrowne's avatar

In northern Alaska (which is north of the polar circle) on June 21 the sun would actually go round in a circle and never set during the whole 24 hours.

28lorelei's avatar

It depends on how north you are. If you are at the Arctic Circle, you get exactly one day where the sun doesn’t go down. During that day, at midnight the sun is at North and on the horizon. In the winter solstice, you get a day without the sun, as hiphiphopflipflapflop explained.
If you go far enough north to, say, 70 north, you get a few months of the sun not going down, during which it is at east during morning, south at noon, west in late afternoon/evening and north at midnight. Basically it goes in circles around you. Then after a few months of gradually shortening days, the sun sets in November:ish, comes up in February. Needless to say, the winters are very dark.
If you go south of the Arctic Circle, you have lots of light in summer and relatively dark winters, but you don’t actually get the midnight sun or a dark day.

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