Posted May 19, 2021 | by Old Oak
Have ever looked outside at a beautiful sunset and wondered why it's so colourful?
Here's a very simplified explanation.
Sunsets are a result from a occurrence called scattering. As the sun sinks lower in the sky, small particles in the atmosphere(dust, water droplets or pollution) change the direction of light rays. This causes them to "scatter". So when we see the sun lower on the horizon, it's light passes through more of this atmosphere. The intensity or variety of light and colour coming from the sky, is further determined by the type wavelength and the size of the particles and molecules present at the suns decent.
What is a wavelength of light? How does that effect the colours we see in the sky?
By definition a wavelength of light is the distance between the two successive crests or troughs of the light wave.
Even though light during the day appears without colour(white light) it actually contains all the colours of the rainbow! If you've ever had the pleasure to see sunlight pass through a prism or water droplets in the air, it divides light into all its then visible colours (a rainbow). Each of those colours or wavelengths have a different length, so that is why as the sun sinks further down we see different colours emerge. Violet and blues have the shortest wavelength we might see those colours first. All the way to orange and red with the longest. In turn we see those colours as the sun sinks even further away from our sight.
Vola a beautiful sunset is born!
There you have it, a very simplistic explanation to that question you might have when you're enjoying the entertainment in the sky.
Sunsets and sunrises are some one of the most beautiful parts of the day. So if you can, take the time breathe deeply and appreciate the wonder in the skies more often.