Sunrise

Of course there’s science

There is a lot of science behind the colors of sunrises and sunsets.

There is no objective reason why the colors of both should be different, but they sure look different to us. And according to the book “Color and Light in Nature” the reasons are entirely subjective. One has to do with our eyes and brain. In the morning, we are used to night time light. Because of this, the sunrise looks more brightly yellow, orange and flaming red. In the evening, we are used to the brightness of day time light. Thus, the sunsets look more deeper red and purple against the backdrop of the darkening evening sky.

Next to this, we should give credit where credit is due – air pollution. Pollutant particles can change the color and intensity of the light. This article by Stephen F. Corfidi is an absolutely amazing source of information of the different ways this happens.

But there is also romance

This post is not so much about the science of sunrises. As I promised, in this category, I will write more from the human side of me, rather than the scientific one. Eva vs Nevena. There are a lot of emotion we humans assign to sunrises. And while I do sometimes sit and look at a sunrise and think what an amazing physical phenomena that is, I more often think romantic thoughts.

special type of romantic thoughts. Watching the sunrise, I think of all the genius scientists before me who worked to discover the properties of light, air, our Sun and atmosphere so we can now know all about the origin of the picturesque sunrises.

I wonder what it was like to be a scientists in the 17th century like Sir Isaac Newton who discovered that sunlight is composed of different colors. Or what is like it to have worked with “ancient” measuring devices and weather balloons like Léon Teisserenc de Bort did, to discover the layers of our atmosphere, which contribute to the physics of the dusk/dawn beauty.

I think also of the naturalists and physicians, who through the centuries uncovered the mysteries of our anatomy and physiology, which allow us to perceive this natural beauty. I wonder what sunrises was Ibn al-Haytham seeing a thousand years ago, in Iraq, when he pioneered optics.

And sometimes I think of time-travel. And how I wish I had a time-machine. I imagine how I would go back in time and be a fly on the wall in the laboratories of each of these people and just marvel at their genius and may be sit side by side and see a sunrise together.

Do you have a preference for a sunrise/sunset and where does your mind roam when you observe one?

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