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Name: larry
Status: other
Age: 50s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1999 - 2000

If I was standing in the northern part of Alaska in the summer, on the day of solstice, where would the sun rise and set in the sky? My friend tells me the sun rises and sets in the north. Is this correct?

At any position north of the Arctic Circle (23.5 degrees from the north pole) there would be at least one full 24 hour period of daylight. The farther north you go the more days of full daylight. There would be no sunrise or sunset but the sun would make a lap of the horizon never getting very high in the sky. As far as the position of the rise and set, the farther north your position, the farther to the north the sun would appear to rise and set.

Interestingly, there are a number of definitions of sunrise and sunset that would affect the real answer to this question. Twilight can go either way.

Larry Krengel

Actually, the northernmost part of Alaska is north of the Arctic Circle, so the sun actually is up the entire day of the solstice. Strictly speaking, then, it neither rises nor sets.

Right on the arctic circle, yes, the sun rises and sets due north on the day of the Summer solstice. In other locations, the Sun rises in the northeast and sets in the northwest on that day. The sun rises due east and sets due west only on the equinoxes.

Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D.
Assistant Director
PG Research Foundation, Darien, Illinois

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