Thursday, January 12, 2017

Sunrises (and Sunsets) of Arizona

With my time in Arizona setting like the sun, I thought it would be appropriate to dedicate this post to its sunsets (and sunrises). Although I've seen some beautiful sunset(rises) elsewhere, the dramatic colors and frequency of such brilliant displays seems to occur at a much higher frequency.

So what causes these brilliant skies? When the sun sets, light shines through more of the atmosphere, when compared to when the sun is higher in the sky. The light is bent, refracted, and reflected from tiny particles in that atmosphere. A lower frequency results in more warmer colors. 

Beyond the basic science, what makes Arizona's sunset(rises) so spectacular? Due to less moisture in the air, the clouds here are much higher. Such higher clouds reflect more light, with dramatic colors. 

With reduced levels of pollution, more variation in visible light can be seen, particularly those vibrant colors at the far end of the spectrum. It seems that dust (and pollution) actually diffuses or scatters color, resulting in a dull or muted sky. 

The presence of high clouds also greatly chances the chance of  dramatic sunset. These higher (and middle) clouds help intercept unadulterated light. 
I like how the higher clouds in the photo above reflected the orange color, making it appear as if those clouds were on fire.

For those willing to get up earlier and deal with the cooler early morning temperatures, the winter and fall months provide rewarding painterly effects.

Boo - back to the frozen tundra of Wisconsin!

No comments: