15 Things You Might Not Know About Alaska
1. Alaska is the least densely populated state in the union, which makes sense when you consider that it is both the largest and the fourth-least populated. If New York City had the same population density as Alaska, only 28 people would be living in Manhattan.
2. Diomede, a city on Little Diomede Island in the Bering Strait off the west coast of the state, is just 2.4 miles away from Russian Big Diomede Island, which sits on the other side of the International Date Line. In 2012, the population of Diomede was just 120 people.
3. Of the 20 highest peaks in the United States, 12 are in Alaska, including the highest peak in North America (20,320 ft. above sea level), Mt. McKinley.
4. Alaska has more coastline than the rest of the United States combined.
5. The Aurora Borealis occurs an average of 243 days a year in Fairbanks. And if you want to see the northern lights, get a move on: scientists think that the drifting magnetic North Pole could mean that Alaska will lose its northern lights in the next 50 years.
6. In addition to being the northernmost and westernmost state in the Union, Alaska is also the easternmost state — at least by a certain unit of measure. Because all the longitude lines converge on the top (and bottom) of the Earth’s sphere, Pochoni Point in Alaska has the most eastern longitude of any point in the U.S. at 179° 46′ 23″ E.
7. Kodiak brown bears, the only recognized subspecies of grizzly bears, live exclusively on the islands in the Kodiak Archipelago. They have been isolated from other bears for about 12,000 years.
8. Haines, Alaska is home to the world’s only Hammer Museum, which honors the history of mankind’s oldest tool as it "tells the story of man's progress and ingenuity." The museum opened in 2002 and is fronted by a nearly 20-foot-tall statue of a hammer.
9. Although it's about 1,700 miles south of the Earth’s geographic North Pole, there is a town called North Pole, Alaska whose claim to fame is being the home of the world’s largest fiberglass statue of Santa Claus.
10. The second strongest earthquake ever recorded took place in Alaska on March 27, 1964. The 9.2 magnitude quake lasted about four and a half minutes. About 11% of the world's earthquakes are in Alaska.
11. Alaska is the only state that can be typed on one row of keys.
12. Barrow, Alaska, 800 miles south of the North Pole, has the country's longest day and night. When the sun rises on May 10, it doesn’t set for nearly 3 months. When it sets on November 18, Barrow's 4,200 residents do not see the sun again for over two months.
13. Pearl Harbor is certainly the most well-known World War II attack on American soil, but it wasn’t the only one. For a little over a year starting on June 3, 1942, Japan occupied the Aleutian Islands of Attu and Kiska.
14. Alaska is home to at least twenty distinct indigenous languages, some of which are spoken by just a handful of people.
15. Each year in February, Anchorage, Alaska holds the Fur Rendezvous Festival to celebrate the beginning of the end of winter. The winter-themed carnival has taken place every year, excluding war years, since 1935.