Here at 1st Alaska Outdoor School in Fairbanks, we believe that our knowledge and expertise shine through on each and every one of our exciting excursions. When considering one of our most popular tours that explores the Arctic Circle, many visitors are embarrassed to ask the questions: What is the Arctic Circle anyway, and what’s so great about it? While the question will undoubtedly be answered in grand fashion while experiencing the tour, here’s a brief rundown to get you up to speed.
First, a quick geography refresher for those who’ve been out of the classroom for a while. Remember latitude and longitude? These refer to those lines that reach around the globe, often used to pinpoint exact locations on the earth. While longitudinal lines move from North to South, latitudinal ones move from East to West, measuring the angular distance from the equator, or center of the Earth.
The Arctic Circle is one specific circle of latitude that happens to be of very special importance. It is the dividing line between the Northern Temperate zone, to the south, and the Arctic to the north. It also happens to run right through the state of Alaska.
So how did scientists come up with this dividing line anyway? It’s actually quite simple. The Arctic Circle marks the southernmost points in the Northern Hemisphere where there will be at least one full day of constant sunlight and one of constant darkness. Because this depends on the tilt of the Earth, the exact location of the Arctic Circle fluctuates, in large part due to the tidal forces of the moon.
Readings in 2012 placed the Arctic Circle’s location at 66° 33′ 44″. In addition to Alaska, it passes through Russia, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Finland. The geographical significance makes for some truly stunning displays of natural landscape, shown by the hordes of tourists who flock to these locations to experience them.
At 1st Alaska Outdoor School, we offer a day-long tour that will take you right to the Arctic Circle (where you’ll even receive a certificate for proof), as well as gorgeous sight-seeing at the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, the Yukon River, and the high plateau of Finger Mountain on the way. If you’d like to experience part of the world that is unlike any other, visit our website for more information.