July 15, 2024

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Red Sky at Night

Have you ever wondered just what makes the sunset red?  You may be surprised to find out that the red color is always there just like the red in a Maple leaf  but we just don’t see the reds and oranges of the color spectrum because there’s another color overwhelming it most of the day.  In order to see the colors of  the light spectrum ( blue, green, yellow and red) there has to be gasses in the air to absorb their color and dust particles to reflect that color outward.  Blue is the most easily absorbed color because it has a shorter wavelength.  The shorter the wave length of a color easier it is absorbed by gases in the atmosphere also the less distance light has to travel also affects what color of the light spectrum you will see.

As the sun sets behind the horizon light has to travel further to reach your eyes. The shorter wavelength (blues) can’t travel as far as the longer wavelength (reds)  and we begin to see the reds and oranges of the color spectrum. As the sun sets the red colors that were absorbed by gasses in the atmosphere during the day are now reflecting from the suspended particles in the atmosphere.  The more particles suspended in the atmosphere the more brilliant the sunset will be.