Sunrises and sunsets can appear orange in color because during these times, sunlight takes a much longer path through the earth’s atmosphere. As a result, the more traditional color of blue is scattered away (keeping the skies over earlier timezones blue) and the only remaining light able to endure the longer journey through earth’s atmosphere are the orange and red colors.
Our eyes depict the color of the sun based on its position in the sun and the size and concentration of atmospheric particles. During noon, when the sun is supposedly high above us, it is often white, which demonstrates that equal intensity of all the wavelengths of color – white. During sunrises and sunsets, the wavelength is affected by the dense environment and atmospheric particles, which scatters short wavelengths (violet and blue). This allows longer wavelengths such as yellow and red to reach our pupils, letting us see orange.
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