Alaska became a state in 1959, and the state capital is Juneau. As the largest state in the United States, Alaska is approximately one-fifth the size of the continental United States. The state is home to many of the tallest mountains in the United States. Denali, the tallest mountain in Alaska, is over 20,000 feet above sea level. Glaciers cover 5 percent of Alaska, and the state has more glaciers and ice fields than the rest of the world combined.
Summer temperatures in Alaska can reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit. During summer, the sun is visible 24 hours a day in regions north of Fairbanks, allowing residents to grow giant fruits and vegetables. In winter, temperatures can drop to -60 degrees Fahrenheit.
The aurora borealis is visible for much of the year in and north of Fairbanks. Located just 55 miles from Russia, Alaska is home to millions of lakes, thousands of glaciers, 29 volcanoes and many geothermal hot springs. The coastline of Alaska meets the Bering Sea, Arctic Ocean and Pacific Ocean.
Much of the state, including the state capital, is only accessible by boat or plane. The state is home to large numbers of bald eagles, bears, moose and salmon. Alaskan residents do not pay sales or income tax, but receive an annual dividend check from oil sales.