Time in Alaska
Alaska is covered by two time zones, as described below:
- Islands west of -169.5° (169°30'W) are in the Hawaii–Aleutian Time Zone (UTC−10:00, DST UTC−09:00). Daylight saving time (DST) is observed.
- The town of Hyder, because it essentially is a single town split by the border between the United States and Canada, unofficially observes Pacific Time including DST (UTC−08:00, DST UTC−07:00) like its neighbor Stewart, British Columbia, with the exception of the U.S. Post Office (because it is a federal facility).
- The rest of the state is in the Alaska Time Zone and observes DST (UTC−09:00, DST UTC−08:00).
In 1901, Alaska started to use time zones. Before time zones were introduced, every place used local observation of the sun to set their clocks, which means they used local mean time, every city different based on their longitude. On October 18, 1867 Alaska changed from belonging to Russia (Russian America), to belonging to the United States (the Alaska Purchase). Before this event, Alaska used the same date as Asia. The capital was Sitka (135.3345°W) which had local time +14:59 before 1867 and -9:01 afterwards. This means that Alaska repeated one day in the calendar, but also because of the switch from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, Alaska also skipped 12 days, so that Friday, October 6 was followed by Friday, October 18. (Friday October 6, Julian, followed by Friday, October 6 Julian as the day repeats due to the date line shift, which is Friday, October 18 Gregorian.).
From 1901 to 1983, Alaska was divided into four time zones. In practice, particularly before the 1966 Uniform Time Act, the areas covered by each time zone varied over time.
- The west coast (including Nome) and the Aleutian Islands used UTC-11:00 (Bering Time).
- Most of Alaska, including Anchorage and Fairbanks, used UTC-10:00 (Alaska-Hawaii Time).
- Yakutat used UTC-09:00 (Yukon Time).
- The south east, including Juneau, used UTC-08:00 (Pacific Time).
In 1942–1945 all of the US including Alaska added one hour compared to other years. In 1967 Daylight saving time was introduced in the US, including Alaska.
In 1983, Alaska switched to two time zones. Most areas moved to UTC-09:00, which was renamed to the Alaska Time Zone. Most of the Aleutian islands, previously on Bering Time, moved to UTC-10:00, now called the Hawaii–Aleutian Time Zone. One hour Daylight saving time is added in summer.
The tz database version 2021a contains seven time zones for Alaska for historical reasons. Only three (America/Adak, America/Anchorage, and America/Metlakatla) are currently in use.
|CC||Coordinates||TZ||Comments||UTC offset||UTC offset DST||Notes|
|US||+611305−1495401||America/Anchorage||Alaska (most areas)||−09:00||−08:00|
|US||+581807−1342511||America/Juneau||Alaska - Juneau area||−09:00||−08:00|
|US||+571035−1351807||America/Sitka||Alaska - Sitka area||−09:00||−08:00|
|US||+593249−1394338||America/Yakutat||Alaska - Yakutat||−09:00||−08:00|
|US||+550737−1313435||America/Metlakatla||Alaska - Annette Island||−09:00||−08:00|
- "Exceptions, Oddities and Notes". OnTimeZone.com. Retrieved 2012-06-17.
- Time Zones - Anchorage
- Time Zones - Nome
- Time Zones - Adak
- Time Zones - Yakutat
- Time Zones - Juneau
- Wallace Turner (1983-11-01). "Alaska's four time zones now two". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-09-21.
The big change was in Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka, the major towns in southeast Alaska, where clocks shifted back two hours to Yukon time. After decades on Pacific time, this region will now be an hour earlier, as will Anchorage and Fairbanks, which formerly were two hours earlier than Pacific time.