Saturday, April 6, 2013

F is for Fairbanks

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Fairbanks is the second largest city in Alaska, behind Anchorage, and is the primary setting of my novel Polar Night. My main character Danny Fitzpatrick is a detective for the Fairbanks police department.

Polar Night takes place during the dead of winter in December. During the winter solstice, which falls around December 21 each year, Fairbanks only sees 3 hours and 43 minutes of sunlight. The sun doesn't rise until around 11:00 in the morning, and it sets before 3:00 in the afternoon. I can't really imagine a day like that!

The winters in Fairbanks are long, and last from late September/early October until late April/early May. The winters are also cold, with average temperatures of -15 degrees Fahrenheit to -25 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperatures have been known to drop as low as -60 degrees during a Fairbanks winter. This is something else I can't begin to imagine.


Source: Wikimedia Commons



The summer in Fairbanks is quite different. On the summer solstice, Fairbanks experiences 21 hours and 49 minutes of sunlight. And even after sunset, the twilight is bright enough to allow for daylight activities.

For this reason, Fairbanks hosts the Midnight Sun baseball game each year. The game has been a tradition since 1906, and starts after 10:00 at night on the solstice. When the game begins, the sun is just beginning to set. By the time it ends approximately three hours later, the sun is starting to rise again. Artificial lighting has never been used for any part of the game.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

If I ever make it to Alaska I think the Midnight Sun game would be a fun thing to experience. And I know I would prefer to deal with the strangeness of a midnight sun than the cold darkness of winter! I'd never make it in -60 degree temperatures.

Kudos to everyone for making it through the first week of the A - Z! I hope everyone had a great time and got off to a good start. Happy weekend!


51 comments:

  1. I don't think I've experienced weather in the negatives before. I'd like to visit Fairbanks during a warm period.

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  2. What a great idea for that night time baseball game. I would go in summer!

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  3. That is a very long day and night. You're right - seeing the Midnight Sun game would be fun.

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  4. My hub would loooove to go to that baseball game. I experienced the Midnight Sun in Norway. What an amazing experience!

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  5. I've never watched a baseball game, but if I ever did that's the one I'd want to see - pretty cool!

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  6. Love the setting for your novel (it's on my tbr list!). A long time ago I was in the north of Norway at the time of the midnight sun and it was weird. It must be a little depressing in winter so I'm not surprised they live like crazy during the summer months.

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  7. For a while there I though I'd moved to Fairbanks, the weathers starting to lighten up somewhat today. I like your posts on Alaska, Julie.

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  8. The more you share the more I want to read your novel.

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  9. I truly can't imagine that sort of cold, though I'd be happy to experience it just to see what it was like :)

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  10. One of my favourite TV programs ever is Northern Exposure set in the fiction town of Cicely, Alaska! Am loving this tour :)

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  11. Summers in Alaska must be really interesting, especially experiencing 21 hours of sunlight. Great for getting stuff done outside, but I bet it's a nightmare for astronomers. (;

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  12. That would mean no summer astronomizing, though. I think their winter is actually shorter than ours.

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  13. Jamaica has kept me warm all these years. Thanks Jamaica. Fairbank's summer solstice sounds amazing.

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  14. Alaska has such strange weather and sunrise/sunset patterns. I don't think ten years would be long enough for me to "get with it" if I ever lived there.

    Even still, Fairbanks looks like a beautiful place to visit.

    Have a great weekend!

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  15. I'd love to experience that baseball game. :-D

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  16. I think I'd lob 21 hrs of daylight.

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  17. I've always wanted to visit a place where the sun didn't set. I think it'd be very cool and a bit...strange...as well :)

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  18. @Medeia, we have it sometimes here but nothing close to these temps.

    @Nick, I think so too, seems like fun.

    @Alex, I agree!

    @Kittie, oh wow, I bet that was amazing. I'd love to see that.

    @Annalisa, I love baseball but this game would be extra fun.

    @Susan, thanks so much for adding my book to your list! And I agree, I can understand why they live it up in the summer, I would too.

    @Cathrina, thank you! And I'm glad your weather is warming up a bit.

    @Regina, thanks!

    @Trisha, yeah, I think if I experienced it I'd never want to again but I am kind of curious.

    @Morgan, me too!

    @Carolyn, oh, I loved that too! I actually have it in a future post. :)

    @Elise, I never thought of that LOL.

    @Mary, yeah, it would ruin your summers! Not good for you.

    @Sheena, I agree!

    @Samantha, yeah, I think I'd go nuts trying to adapt to it. Thanks, and you have a great weekend as well!

    @Misha, me too. :)

    @Brinda, I think it would be kind of cool but I probably wouldn't be able to sleep. Still much better than all the darkness!

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  19. The first picture just got me! Those fluffy looking clouds. I love them. Happy weekend to you too!

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  20. My grandparents took my great-grandmother for a visit in Alaska in a camper during the summer. In my grandma's letter, I remember her talking abut how they were sticking things in the windows to try to make it dark enough to sleep. I love the idea of that baseball game! Wonder if they got to see that?

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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  21. As much as I love daylight, I think it would be hard having so much of it.

    Have fun with a-z.

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  22. Congrats to you, too, Julie! I would have difficulty sleeping during those long days. At least at the beginning of them.

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  23. I've never been to Alaska but now I want to go and see the midnight sun! (I'm going to skip the winter part). :)
    We made it through the first week!

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  24. Oh my, I don't think I could live there, but I'm sure it makes a great setting for a novel.

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  25. I know I couldn't deal with those short days/long nights in the winter. I'd have to buy one of those sunlight lamps or something. But I can see how that kind of night would be fun for a novelist to play with in a story. :)

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  26. My parents have been there several times and love the city. I hope to get there sometime.

    Dropping in from A to Z. This is my first year participating.

    Brett Minor
    Transformed Nonconformist

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  27. I think Alaska would be a wonderful place to visit or even live...but I would struggle in the winters with so little hours of day/sun light. I struggle when it is only cloudy for too long.

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  28. I think Alaska would be a wonderful place to visit or even live...but I would struggle in the winters with so little hours of day/sun light. I struggle when it is only cloudy for too long.

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  29. My family would love to see a Midnight Sun game! They love baseball, and it would be an amazing experience. It's been fun learning so much about Alaska.

    Julie

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  30. My husband so now wants to go that baseball game! :)

    Happy first week of A-Z! Whew! :)

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  31. My inlaws live there! I hope to visit someday!

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  32. Sounds beautiful, but sleeping patterns would be all messed up.
    That Midnight Sun game would be amazing to witness! My hubby and sons would for sure enjoy it.

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  33. I think the Midnight Sun game just went on my bucket list. I would love to experience both extremes of daylight actually, but I don't think I could handle it long term.

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  34. I miss the midnight sun, old Swede that I am. But not so much the long dark winters. I love a good detective story.

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  35. I love Fairbanks and I really like the pictures you post.

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  36. @Al, I love those clouds too, aren't the gorgeous?

    @Shannon, oh, that would be cool if they did.

    @Jessica, I totally agree.

    @Carol, yeah, I'm already an insomniac sometimes so I don't think this would be good for me.

    @Laura, yay for making it through! :)

    @Elizabeth, that's what I thought, thanks!

    @LG, it was! I wouldn't be able to deal with it either though.

    @Brett, oh, nice to meet you, thanks for coming by!

    @Rebecca, I do too, but I would love to visit there sometime.

    @Julie, my family is a baseball family too so I know we would enjoy it. :)

    @Madeline, LOL, I hope he makes it!

    @Tammy, oh, how fun, I hope they have a great trip.

    @Jackie, yeah, I'd probably end up going nuts LOL.

    @Tim, I would love to see it too!

    @Inger, oh, I forgot you would know all about this sort of thing being from Sweden. I can imagine you don't long for those winters.

    @Lorena, thank you!

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  37. That's amazing about the sunset/sunrise game! Wow!

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  38. Your stories about Alaska remind me of when I lived in Iceland. There, too, our summers included nearly 24 hour daylight. I even ran a 10K in the rain when it was light out at midnight (June 21st). I didn't win a trophy, but I got bloody nipples (oops...sorry...TMI). Mrs. Penwasser LOVED all that daylight. I, on the other hand, preferred the frigid dark of winter. Fewer bloody nipples that way.

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  39. I could never ensure that kind of cold . Michigan was terrible for me , for three years of law school

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  40. -60 deg temps? I'm trying to wrap my brain around that...

    I think the lowest temp I've experienced (out of town), was -3deg and it was SUPER FROZEN...

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  41. I am thinking the winter is the best time to visit Alaska. Your novel sounds interest. I found your via the comment you left on my A to Z Challenge blog post (sweetbeariesart.com).

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  42. 21 hours of sunlight on the summer solstice?! As a night person, I don't think I'd enjoy Fairbanks during that time of year! XD

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  43. I love the cold so I think I'd love Fairbanks! ;)

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  44. @Aimee, I think so too, it would be fun to see it.

    @Al, LOL, well I can see why you preferred the dark!

    @Melissa, I couldn't either, no way.

    @Michelle, yeah, we've never had anything even close to that here.

    @J, oh, thank you, I appreciate that!

    @Heather, LOL, it's funny how everyone has a different perspective on it. I can see how it would sound awful for a night person!

    @Lynda, I like some cold but this would definitely be too much for me, I'm a wimp LOL.

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  45. Didn't make it to Fairbanks when I was there, only Anchorage, before getting out of the urban setting. We only had darkness for like half an hour at night--it did get darker than I thought it would, but the sun was always visible. So weird.

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  46. So how much does the setting play its part in your novel? Do you find it difficult to know how much detail to put in and what would be overkill?

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  47. @Pk, that would be so strange, I can't imagine.

    @Kirsty, it plays a part mostly because of the darkness and cold of the winters, that was the main thing I wanted. I tried not to use too much detail since I haven't been there and didn't want to be inaccurate. Thanks for asking!

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  48. I think i'm really reactive to changes in daylight and no sun or no night would both screw me up massively.

    That being said, a baseball game at midnight seems like quite an experience to have!

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  49. @Beverly, doesn't it? I'd like to be there just for that. :)

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Thank you for your comments!