Early November Light

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Early November Light
Light through the forest – early afternoon in Fairbanks, Alaska on November 8, 2021 | Prints and Wall Art

I’m always amazed at how fast the seasons change here in Fairbanks. Not just the weather but the daylight. It didn’t even get fully dark at night three months ago. Today, there are only 6 hours and 47 minutes from sunup to sundown, and we are losing over six-and-a-half minutes of daylight a day. And the loss is accelerating.

More drastic than the lack of daylight is how low the Sun arcs across the sky. At solar noon, the highest the Sun gets in the day is only 8° above the horizon. That’s almost 14° lower than it is on the darkest day of the year in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

It certainly makes the cold feel colder with the Sun seeming so distant. Although, it makes for some beautiful light! I love the winter light in Alaska; there’s something magical about it. That feeling is enhanced by the incredibly short time we have together over the day.

Mid-day sunlight through sparse boreal forest
Mid-day sunlight through sparse boreal forest
 altitude of the Sun a little over an hour past solar noon in Fairbanks, Alaska on November 8, 2021. My thumb at arm's length subtends about 5° of arc.
The altitude of the Sun a little over an hour past solar noon in Fairbanks, Alaska on November 8, 2021. My thumb at arm’s length subtends about 5° of arc.

The air has just begun to cool this week. We’ve had a very mild fall so far. Even now, the temperature is hanging around 0 °F (-18 °C) for the lows, a little above average for this time of year. But at least it’s not getting above freezing in the day anymore. My body is ok with the slow change since it always feels colder when it snaps after such mild weather.

Last week we had a fantastic aurora show on the night of November 3rd into the morning of the 4th. It was quite the night, with the K-index hitting 7 and northern lights reported as far south as California. I didn’t take many photos, since I was exhausted and needed the sleep, but I did walk outside to watch more than a few times during the night.

Aurora overhead and in the southern sky on November 3, 2021 - Fairbanks, Alaska
Aurora overhead and in the southern sky on November 3, 2021 – Fairbanks, Alaska
Northern lights filling the sky on November 4, 2021 - Fairbanks, Alaska
Northern lights filling the sky on November 4, 2021 – Fairbanks, Alaska

More photos from the evening here:

November 3, 2021 – Aurora Borealis


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November 4, 2021 – Aurora Borealis

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