Sunset general information

Everyone at one time or another has marveled at the beautiful red and orange colours of a sunrise or sunset. Air molecules scatter away the shorter wavelengths of light (violet and blue).  The only light which penetrates through the atmosphere are the longer wavelengths of light (yellow, orange and red) which produce colorful sunsets. 


In the gallery, sunsets. click image to enlarge

The colours of the Sunset depends upon the scattering of light. This then  affects the color of light refracting from the sky.  Each wavelength of light refracts (bends) by a different amount.   The colours are also determined by particles in the air.

Particles in the air can be things such as pollution and water vapour. After a volcanic eruption, particles of debris fly high in the atmosphere. These will usually give good reds and oranges in the sunset.



University of Wisconsin – Madison. “What Determines Sky’s Colors At Sunrise And Sunset?.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 November 2007. <>.