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Why the sky is blue, according to science

15 Sep 2017, 14:01 UTC
Why the sky is blue, according to science
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The combination of a blue sky, dark overhead, lighter near the horizon, along with a reddened Sun at either sunrise or sunset, can all be explained scientifically. Here’s how. Image credit: Robert Villalta / Pexels.If you’ve ever wondered where it gets its blue color from, physics has you covered.“That’s a misconception, Lennie. The sky is everywhere, it begins at your feet.” -Jandy NelsonOne of the first questions a curious child often asks about the natural world is “why is the sky blue?” Yet despite how widespread this question is, there are many misconceptions and incorrect answers bandied about — because it reflects the ocean; because oxygen is a blue-colored gas; because sunlight has a blue tint — while the right answer is often thoroughly overlooked. In truth, the reason the sky is blue is because of three simple factors put together: that sunlight is made out of light of many different wavelengths, that Earth’s atmosphere is made out of molecules that scatter different-wavelength light by different amounts, and the sensitivity of our eyes. Put these three things together, and a blue sky is inevitable. Here’s how it all comes together.Light of many different wavelengths, not all of which are visible, ...

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