The Sky at Sunset

By: myoce

Jan 08 2010


Category: sky


Focal Length:18.6mm
Shutter:1/0 sec

Bogor, 08012010

This pix was taken last year..oh forgot ! you could see the date above, silly me :P…. Ok, as promised, I’m going to talk about things in the pix in my posts…in this case the colors of the sky at sunset.

My friend Hydee in England once said,  “Why do you have lovely sunsets there ?” … I remember thinking sunsets were the same everywhere . It turns out that it is not the case.  According to what I’ve read , sunsets in certain areas of the world are more colorful than others…namely in deserts and tropics. Hmmm…I’m in the tropics !…couldn’t be more tropical than here in Indonesia..hehe.

Do you ever wonder why the sky color changes at sunset ? I feel the colors of twilight and sunset are soo romantic…

Well the explanation is not so romantic…it’s scientific :P

According  to experts, the spectrum colors of sunlight ranges from violet and blue at one end to orange and red on the other.  Molecules and small particles in the atmosphere change the direction of light rays, causing them to scatter. The short-wavelength blue and violet rays are scattered by molecules in the atmosphere [air] much more than other colors of the spectrum.

As the sun sets, the light must travel through more of the atmosphere before it gets to us. More atmosphere means more molecules which scatter the blue and violet light. If the path is long enough, all of the blue and violet light scatters out of our line of sight. The other colors – pink, orange and red – continue on their way to our line of vision. That is why sunset colors are often pink, orange and red !

Back to my friend Hydee’s comment and why are the sunset in deserts and tropics more colorful than other places in the world. The answer is pollution. Air pollution soften sky colors and reduces the light which reaches the ground, so sunsets [and sunrises] loses some of it’s brilliancy and intensity. Pollution climatology explains that pollution in deserts and tropics are minimal compared to other areas….hence, more beautiful sunsets. This is what I read according to Stephen F Corfidi at NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center and other sources.

Hope you won’t think that sunsets are less beautiful after reading this….I tend to forget about science when I see a breathtaking sunset :)

Sources :, and


2 comments on “The Sky at Sunset”

  1. Hi Myoce! Thanks for sharing your knowledge on this subject. It’s good you looked for it. I could do with more research really before things get complicated. you know what I meant. Keep writing. You could provide the theory bits.. you know me I’m stubborn on learning. I’d rather be hands on with photography but the knowledge bit is just as important. Take care.

    • Hi Hyds…..thanks for looking in on me here. Actually this blog is not strictly all about photography…..he he…my photography is not that great and…haven’t succeeded with the last site about that subject. I’ll be talking about any thing in the pix. But it’s still connected to photography for now ^^ Don’t worry , It’ll be complicated, I know…but….fantastic !
      Love and take care, myoce

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