Bending Sunlight

Although you may not see the Sunrise every day (especially during those long cold winter months), it is there every morning, 365 days of the year.  Most would think that Sunrise is the instant that the Sun first peeks over the horizon so technically, one can’t see the Sun before we see it. But in reality we do see the Sun when it is just below the horizon at sunrise and sunset. This is because of the refraction of the light from the Sun by the Earth’s atmosphere, it bends the path of the light so that we see the Sun at a point slightly altered from where it really is.  The time difference of the “actual” sun rise and sunset varies, and the closer to the equator you are the bigger the gap in time.

Red, orange and pink clouds happen almost entirely at sunrise and sunset; the sunlight becomes too red due to refraction for any colors other than those with a reddish shade to be seen.   The clouds do not become pink or red; they are reflecting long rays of sunlight, which are common at that time of day.

After a big rainstorm such as the one we had yesterday afternoon we are guaranteed a spectacular sunrise the next morning.  When the clouds linger in the sky the water particles and humidity refract the light creating a beautiful sky…in the campo.




See more photo challenge refraction’s


About indacampo

You'll find me at blogging about Panama...and other things.
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4 Responses to Bending Sunlight

  1. Sunnymikkel says:

    Thanks, always wondered how the colors happen!

  2. John Pazera says:

    Great pics and info!

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