Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Eternal Darkness of the Arctic - Almost To the Solistice

Surfing to the three Fairbanks webcams I view occasionally, I watch at about 1:15 - 1:45 pm their time.  It's an hour or so before official sunset in their 3 hour and 55 minute day now, here a little less than a week before the winter solstice.

The sun barely hangs above the southern horizon, lighting the partially cloudy skies with a bailful diffused light.  The sky is streaked dark blue and purple except on the horizon, where a glimmer of sunlight shows.  The washed out light barely lights downtown Fairbanks.  Streetlights are on.

The feeble sun, drained of almost all its energy, crawls just above the southern horizon.  Soon it will set and the arctic night will descend again.

It's about five below zero, not bad for a mid-December day.   Snow blankets the ground, as it will for several more months.

Will there be an aurora later today?  Or will there be nothing but relentless darkness?  Could I face it, as the natives in Fairbanks do every winter?

Monday I will go to work in the morning here in upstate NY, see the dawn, and imagine myself in Fairbanks at noon.

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