DISCUSSION: As shown in the image above (courtesy of Mick Loxley Photography) and re-shared by the Higgins Storm Chasing team, there was a stunning sunset which recently took place across many parts of southeastern Australia as shown in the photograph above which was captured over in Lake Macquarie located in coastal New South Wales. In regards to how such sunsets occur, they are produced from a process known as Rayleigh Scattering. Rayleigh scattering refers to the scattering of light off of the molecules of the air, and can be extended to scattering from particles up to about a tenth of the wavelength of the light. It is Rayleigh scattering off the molecules of the air which gives us the blue sky that we observed during the day.
When this occurs in the evening, the variable angle at which light reflects and/or refracts off of various particles suspended in the lower portions of the atmosphere determines the colors which are produced near the time of sunset on any given day in any part of the world. In areas where there are larger population densities, this often lends for more interesting sunset colors and variability thereof since there are many different types of air-borne pollutants and particles which respectively act to reflect and/or refract light in different ways.
To learn more about other neat weather- and weather-related stories from across the South Pacific Ocean and Australia, be sure to click here!
©2017 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz