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.