5 Facts You Didn't Know About Sunsets

5 Facts You Didn't Know About Sunsets

Summer is the best sunset watching season
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One of the things I love to do during the summer is watch sunsets. I realized, though, that I didn't know too much about them so I decided to look up some interesting facts. So the next time you look at a sunset you can impress the person you are with by your knowledge of sunset trivia.

1. Sunsets happen because of the Earth's atmosphere

If the Earth was airless, let's say, like the moon then the sun would look the same as it was dropping behind the horizon. But due to our 300 mile atmosphere, we get the scattered effect of light as the atmosphere acts as a prism.

2. The sun starts to lose color as it sets

As the sun starts dropping to the horizon it starts to lose its blue wavelength hues, then its green and yellow hues, and eventually orange, leaving only red wavelengths. That is why the sun at the end of a sunset will look like a ball of fire.

3. By the time you see the sun set, it's actually gone

Have you ever been told that some of the stars you are looking at are already dead because of the time it takes the light to travel? Well the same thing sorta happens with the sun, except the sun doesn't die every night. Again thanks to our atmosphere, which bends light, we are able to see the sun setting. If this is a little confusing, please look at the picture below.

4. Pollution causes those prettier sunsets

Sad, isn't it? It will make you think twice when you look at a stunning sunset. Smoke particles are great for filtering out colors, leaving pinks, reds, and oranges become more vivid. But if pollution gets too high, the sky will just look hazy, leaving a murky sunset that no one really appreciates. This is happening a lot in Rome due to their pollution problem.

5. "Red sky at night, shepherd's delight; red sky in morning, shepherd's take warning." This quote is actually true.

The bright, red, pure colors at night mean that the air is clear to the west and will be good weather in the morning. A red sky in the morning means that good, high pressure weather has already passed meaning low pressure weather (storms) will be coming to the east.

Cover Image Credit: scoutfitters.org

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20 Of The Coolest Animal Species In The World

Animals that almost seem imaginary.
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The world is full of amazing animals. So amazing, that narrowing them down to 20 felt nearly impossible. To determine who made the cut for this list, I used very important factors such as, cuteness and how much some of them looked like Pokémon . I know, very official. So here are some of the coolest animals in the world.

1. Pink Fairy Armadillo

The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest and cutest species of armadillo. It is on the list of threatened species and is found in the sandy plains, dunes, and grasslands of Argentina. The pink fairy armadillo is a nocturnal creature that survives mostly on insects and plants.


2. Okapi

The okapi is an animal native to the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Although the stripes make many people believe okapi are related to zebra, they are actually closer to giraffe. Okapi are solitary creatures and come together to breed. They are herbivores, mostly eating leaves, grass, and other plants.


3. Glaucus Atlanticus or "the Blue Dragon"

These little dragon-like creatures are often only about a few inches long and can be found in the Indian Pacific Oceans. The blue dragon floats upside down in order to blend the blue side of them with the water, and the silver side with the surface of the ocean. This tiny dragon feeds on creatures like the man o' war and can even deliver a sting similar to it.


4. The Maned Wolf

The maned wolf is often found in the grasslands of south, central-west, and southeastern parts of Brazil. It is neither related to wolves nor foxes despite its appearance and name, but is actually closer to dogs. The maned wolf hunts alone and primarily eats both meat and plants (about 50% of its diet).


5. Fossa

The fossa is a carnivorous animal located in Madagascar. Despite having many traits similar to cats, it is more closely related to the Mongoose. The fossa is only found in forest habitats and can hunt in either daytime or night. Over 50 percent of its diet happens to be lemurs.


6. Japanese Spider Crab

As the name suggestions, the Japanese spider crab inhabits the waters surrounding Japan. In many parts of Japan, this crab can be considered a delicacy but can be considerably difficult to catch. The Japanese spider crab can grow to 12 feet long from claw to claw. There is only one sea creature-- amongst similar species (aka crustaceans)-- that beats the weight of a Japanese spider crab: the American Lobster.


7. Pacu Fish

Look closely at the teeth, do they look familiar? This fish is found in the waters of South America. This fish, while related to the piranha, can actually grow much larger. They can also be found in rivers like the Amazon and is an aid to the fishing industry. Unlike the piranha, pacu mostly only eat seeds and nuts, though can still create nasty injuries to other animals if need be.


8. Slow Loris

The slow loris is a nocturnal creature found in Southeast Asia. While very adorable, the loris's teeth are actually quite venomous. The toxin on their teeth can also be applied to fur through grooming to protect its babies from predators. Often times these creatures forage and spend time alone, although can on occasion be seen with other slow lorises. Apart from their toxic teeth, the slow lorises have another defense mechanism, in which they move nearly completely silently in order to prevent discovery.


9. Angora Rabbit

These cute, fluffy rabbits are among the hairiest breeds of rabbit of both wild and domestic types. These rabbits originated in Turkey although managed to spread throughout Europe and was even brought to the United States in the 20th century. These rabbits are often bred for their soft wool which can be made into clothing, and often get rid of their own coats every 3-4 months.


10. Axolotl

The axolotl or "Mexican salamander" (who looks like a Pokémon , if you ask me) is often spotted in lakes in various places around Mexico. These little salamanders are amphibious although often spend their adult lives strictly in the water. However, the population of these cute creatures is dwindling due to non-native predators and the continued urbanization of Mexico. The axolotl eats small worms, insects, and fish in order to survive.


11. Liger

The liger, however made up it sounds, is a real (and cute) animal created by a lion and a tiger mating. Ligers only seem to exist in captivity or zoos because the lion and tiger don't share the same habitat in the wild. Unfortunately, these animals don't live very long or are sterile despite being bigger than both the lion and the tiger. While these animals are cool and unique, they are not strictly natural or sustainable.


12. Bearded Vulture

I don't know about you all, but this vulture reminds me of a phoenix which was initially why I looked into the creature. These vultures inhabit a range of places from southern Europe to the Indian subcontinent, to Tibet. This vulture, like other vultures, typically eats dead animals, although it has been documented that the bearded vulture will attack live prey more often than other vultures.


13. Goblin Shark


This unusual shark is also known as a "living fossil" because they are the last representative of sharks that lived about 125 million years ago. It is a deep sea shark that can grow between 10-13 feet if not longer. The goblin shark has been caught accidentally in every major ocean. The goblin shark is not a fast swimmer and relies on ambushing its prey.


14. Red Panda

This cute, small panda lives in the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. The red panda is rather small, only about the same size as most domestic cats. Its eating habits range from bamboo, to eggs, to insects, and several other small mammals. The red panda is primarily sedentary during the day and at night or in the morning does whatever hunting it needs to do.


15. Blobfish

This blobfish is, in a way, so ugly that it is cute (although reminds me of a certain Pokémon ) This fish lives in the deep waters of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. The blobfish has a density only sightly above that of water. The fish primarily hunts by just floating along and letting creatures wander into its mouth, rather than expending any energy.


16. Leaf Deer

The leaf deer is usually found in dense forests in the northwest region of Putao. The adult leaf deer only stands at about 20 inches high and the males and females are nearly identical except for an inch long horn on the males. It is called a leaf deer because hunters could wrap the deer in a single large leaf.


17. Tiger

While tigers are a more common animal than many others on this list, it is still one of the coolest animals in the world. Tigers are the largest of all cats and once ranged from Russia, to Turkey, to parts of Asia — almost all over the world. These animals are fierce, powerful creatures, although they are on the endangered species list.


18. Narwhals

Narwhals are a species of whale that live in the waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia. The narwhal's diet changes depending on the time of year: in the spring the narwhal will eat cod, while in the winter the narwhal will eat flatfish. Narwhals can live up to 50 years and most frequently die of suffocation from being trapped under the ice.


19. Cheetah

Cheetahs, while more commonly heard of then some of the other animals on this list, are still incredibly cool. They often inhabit many parts of Africa and Iran. These amazing cats can reach up to 60 miles per hour in three seconds and use their tails to make quick and sudden turns. These amazing cats also have semi-retractable claws which helps with speed. The cheetah, however, doesn't have much besides speed to defend itself.


And finally....


20. Superb Bird of Paradise

This GIF demonstrates the mating dance used by male superb birds of paradise. Typically females reject about 20 mates before selecting one they want to mate with. They are often found in New Guinea although it is unsure just how many of these birds there are. As far as scientists know, the population has remained stable.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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Why I Prefer Summer Storms Over Sunny Days

Unless you're the Wicked Witch of the West, you won't melt from a little rain.
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Summer is finally here. Nothing beats the season's long days, warmer air, and bright sun. Well...maybe not that last part. Although sunny days are often accredited with making the season as great as it is, I must admit that summer sun seems almost overrated.

In fact, it is not that the sunny days are overrated, but that rainy days are underrated.

Rain has always fascinated me. Growing up, I loved to sit in the trunk of our van and watch storms outside through the open garage. With a bowl of popcorn and a blanket, it was like watching a movie. A steady rain was great because it meant later getting to run around in puddles. Sometimes a magical rainbow would then stretch across the sky.

Even better, though, were real storms. Lightning illuminated the dark voluminous clouds. Thunder roared. Winds picked up and brought turmoil to the once still and silent air. Something about storms seemed so powerful and consequently made everything else seem so powerless. From trees to people themselves, everything other than the storm became helpless.

I now understand that the strength of a storm is something to be feared, yet my fascination has not slipped away. Yes, some storms bring havoc and are truly disastrous, but those that don't are some of my favorite parts of summer. They are such a beautiful reminder of how amazing nature can be.

Moreover, they remind us humans of how minuscule we are in the grand scheme of things. That might not seem like something good, but can be refreshing to have such a blatant reminder that there are things in the world that we will never be able to control.

The next time some rain ruins your picnic date or walk in the park, don't just complain and hide indoors. Take a moment to look around and soak in the sight (not literally--grab an umbrella if you want).

Unless you are made of sugar or are the Wicked Witch of the West, you won't melt from a few drops of rain. When it comes to a good summer rain, you don't always have to look for the bright side of things.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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