The sun looks reddish-orange during sunrise and sunset. What is the reason behind it?

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justaguide's profile pic

justaguide | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The sun looks reddish-orange in the morning and the evening due to a phenomenon call Rayleigh scattering. In the morning and evening the sunlight has to travel the longest distance through air. The molecules of nitrogen and oxygen which are the primary constituents of air scatter the wavelengths that are close to their size. These are the wavelengths towards the violet end of the spectrum.

Light waves that lie towards the red end of the spectrum are not scattered as much. This allows them to travel through the atmosphere relatively unhindered. By the time the light from the Sun reaches the observer a large part of the blue and violet components of the light has been absorbed and the red and orange components remain.

This makes the sun appear reddish-orange in the morning and evening.

varunlahoty's profile pic

varunlahoty | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

The sun looks reddish-orange because the sun rays get scattered by the water molecules present in the atmosphere of the earth..

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