One of the things I love to do is watch a good sunset and sunrise. We have seen some amazing sunrises over the last month, and the Sunrise Challenge Walk Group has been flooded with some fantastic photos. 

Anyway, I realised, that I didn't know too much about sunrises so I decided to look up some interesting facts.  So, here is this weeks’ education slot…

Fact #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.  I was fascinated to learn all about “scattering” which is the technical name for this phenomena. 

Fact #2. The sun starts to lose colour as it sets

As the sun starts dropping to the horizon it starts to loose its blue 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.

Fact #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 sort of thing 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. 

Fact #4. Pollution causes those pretty 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 colours, 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.

Fact #5. “Red sky at night, shepherd's delight; red sky in morning, shepherd's take warning.”

This fact is true! The bright, red, pure colours 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.

See you next week!