enter image description hereenter image description here The picture has only been trimmed and not edited. The green is visible when the red or orange tapers off into the blue. Is this different from what causes the green flash? We were flying from Rome.


1 Answer 1


enter image description here

Firstly, the locations where wou were flying over is not a determinant to this phenomenon. When sunset, the sunlight crosses a larger distance through the atmosphere to get to earth than midday for instance. This distance is the reason why we see the sky on the horizon as orange. Molecules of air and particles change the direction of light also known as "scattering". The scattered light rays would have different wavelength which will appear as different color than midday sky.
The phenomenon documented by you shows the spectrum of light scattered by the particles in the troposphere and stratosphere. The spectrum is as the rainbow with orange being a bigger chunck which is due to the longer distance of sunlight through atmosphere (as shown in the figure).

very nice pictures by the way.

  • $\begingroup$ what does the distance have to do with the color of the sky during sunset? $\endgroup$ Jan 25, 2019 at 16:10
  • $\begingroup$ The scattering of sunlight is the cause of that. Since the sunlight travels through more air. $\endgroup$ Jan 25, 2019 at 16:14
  • $\begingroup$ What are you saying? it's confusing... Are you saying that light gets scattered at different distances on the sky and that causes the colors? $\endgroup$ Jan 25, 2019 at 16:46
  • $\begingroup$ The longer the distance of sunlight into the atmosphere the larger the fraction of scattered light. More scattering causes shorted wavelenghs. That is why it looks read while sunlight, also, depending on the amount of haze the red color could be deeper (more scattering taken place). $\endgroup$ Jan 25, 2019 at 16:50

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