Winter Solstice Light

Posted by lwpetersen | December 22, 2014 | Fairbanks, photo-blog
A few stars appear in the twilight sky. The sun has long since dipped below the horizon, but the remaining glow in the sky keeps the trees well lit.

We have about 4-5 hours of the “blue hour” every day

Fairbanks is dark in the winter. The official length of the day on the winter solstice is 3 hours, 41 minutes, and some change. Luckily, we benefit from having a lot of twilight, long sunrises and sunsets, and the northern lights. The brilliant color certainly makes up for the lack of daylight. It never hurts to add some color of our own.

Some Christmas cheer on the dry cabin gives us some color for our looong

Our little dry cabin with our Christmas lights. I probably should have closed our kitchen cabinets.

Our winter morning skies start to take on pink and blue tones about an hour before sunrise. They gradually warm, becoming red and orange. On the solstice, the sun doesn’t rise around town at the official sunrise time of 10:58 am because the Alaska Range blocks the view. Most of the day looks like (pretty much is) a sunrise/sunset for the entire time the sun is above the horizon. We were treated to a nice aurora display early in the solstice evening.

Here’s some winter solstice light from Fairbanks this year:

Taken about 20 minutes before sunrise at the Alaska Dog Musher's Association in Fairbanks, Alaska on the winter solstice. A fine way to start the shortest day of the year.

Watching the sunrise from the Alaska Dog Musher’s Association hall on Farmer’s Loop. This was taken about 20 minutes before the official sunrise time.

Taken at solar noon from Ester Dome on the winter solstice. That's as high as the Sun gets over the Tanana Valley on the shortest day of the year. You can see the outlines of Deborah and Hess in the Alaska Range on the left horizon.

The lowest maximum altitude of the Sun over Fairbanks – Taken at solar noon on the winter solstice. It’s barely above the Alaska Range (2° above the horizon from sea level).

Gorgeous light on the hills and a spectacular view of the White Mountains and Moose Mountain ski area.

Light on the trees, hills, and a spectacular view of the White Mountains and Moose Mountain ski area.

Watching the sunlight filter through the trees on Ester Dome.

Sun through the trees

Gorgeous light on the trees and hills around Ester Dome

Gorgeous light on the trees and hills around Ester Dome

Golden light on the spruce and velvet pastels streaking the sky.

Golden light on the spruce and velvet pastels streaking the sky.

The Alaska Range juts out of the flat Tanana Valley, about 80 miles south of Fairbanks.

The Alaska Range juts out of the flat Tanana Valley, about 80 miles south of Fairbanks. From left to right: Hayes, Hess, Deborah

Gorgeous sky over Ballaine Lake as the Sun sets.

Gorgeous sky over Ballaine Lake as the Sun sets

At around 8 pm on the winter solstice the aurora showed up, followed immediately by clouds from the south. Light pollution from Fairbanks really wrecks the view, especially with clouds.

t around 8 pm on the winter solstice the aurora showed up, followed immediately by clouds from the south. Light pollution from Fairbanks really wrecks the view, especially with clouds.

Before the clouds ant light pollution took over. Fairbanks, Alaska

A good way to end the day!

My entire solstice album is here: Photos from 2014-12-21
Twilight from the day before: Photos from 2014-12-20


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