Wednesday is special in Utqiagvik, formerly known as Barrow, Alaska, for reasons that don’t sound particularly special. That morning, the sun will rise there — for the first time in 66 days.
The country’s northernmost town, with a population of 4,300 people, is also one of the northernmost communities in the world, at a latitude of 71.2 degrees north. That puts it well into the Arctic Circle, where polar night — the part of winter when the sun doesn’t come above the horizon — casts months of darkness.
Utqiagvik hasn’t seen the sun since Nov. 18. On Wednesday, a fleeting segment of the sun will appear in the south beginning at 1:04 p.m. local time and sink below the horizon about an hour later, at 2:14 p.m. The solar disc will never be more than halfway above the horizon, so odds are that it will be impossible to see from the town, unless residents’ views are free of buildings, trees or even shrubs at ground level.