Changing Palette of the skies; Why sunsets are so beautiful? Sweet light of Sunset?

Light travels in waves. There are 7 waves (colours) in the visible spectrum.

Light is reflected, refracted, scattered or absorbed. When sunlight is scattered in the air by particles: dust, rain drops or even ice crystals (yes, in Singapore on 2 June 2017 around 12:30pm), we get an array of optical effects, one of which is the sunset, with colourful display of light.

The size of these particles results in the different color of the sunset light. During (sunrise) sunset, the sun is on the horizon, the light has to travel through atmosphere to reach us.

As light has a spectrum of colors, with purples and blues the shortest and orange red the longest, for an orange sunset, blue light has been mostly removed, leaving mostly red and yellow.

One to two hours before sunrise and sunset is called the ‘sweet light. It is the most beautiful lighting for photography, and is often the sought after natural light by photographgers. This sweet light comes from the side rather than the top throwing emphasis on the shape of objects or people in the picture and lasts for about 20 minutes before it turns to a different kind of light, Twilight.

When you see a sunset, the sun had already disappear. Sunsets are a kind of mirage where the light is bent around the horizon.

Red sky at night, sailors (shepherd’s) delight, Red sky in morning, sailor’s (shepherd’s) warning.

Red sunsets means fair weather the next day. As explained above, red sky appears when dust and small particles are trapped in the atmosphere and scatter light.

Two hours before sunset is the best time to take photos as the light at this time is coming from the side rather the top. 1 hour before, ‘sweet light’ lasts for about 20 minutes before it turns to a different kind of light, Twilight.
Photo Credit: Flickr
Photo Credit: Flickr
Photo Credit: Flickr
Photo Credit: Flickr

Halo Other Optical Effects

Halos presents as faint coloured rings encircling the sun. Formed by the refraction of light through ice crystals.

Clouds carry water and sometimes they are so thin they are made of ice crystals rather than water droplets. As light passes the cloud, it is refracted presenting a halo.

Image by The Straits Times on June 03 2017

Cover Photo Credit: Flickr

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