Utqiagvik, Alaska (WIAT) — Thursday marks the last sunset of Utqiagvik (pronounced uut-kee-ah-vik), Alaska until 2022.
You may be more familiar with Barrow, Alaska, which was the town’s name until 2016. Now, Utqiagvik entered into a polar night, which is a phenomenon where the nighttime lasts for more than 24 hours.
For the nearly 4,500 residents of Utqiagvik, the next time the sun emerges above the horizon will be January 22, 2022. This extended period of darkness is contrasted by over 80 days of uninterrupted daylight in the summer.
Utqiagvik sits on a remote tip of Alaska and isn’t connected to any major city by road. They rely on planes and ships (only in the summer) to bring goods. The town is mostly filled with fishermen and women. Geographically, Utqiagvik, sits on a flat artic tundra that meets the Arctic Ocean.
Fun fact! Even though Utqiagvik is a part of the U.S., it’s technically closer to Tokyo, Japan, and St. Petersburg, Russia, than it is to Washington D.C.
Utqiagvik is the cultural center of the Inupiat tribe, a group of Alaskan natives. Archaeological sites in the area indicate that the Inupiat have lived in this area for more than 1500 years.