Why is the sky blue?
The sun shines white and black light to our planet.
The white light has all the colors in it. In our upper atmosphere, we have dust
particles and oxygen molecules. The white light meaning all of the colors in a
rainbow shines through the upper levels of the atmosphere and the blue light
scatters across the entire planet. That is why our sky is blue. Now, during
sunrise and sunset, the light traveling through atmosphere is longer at the
horizon, then if you were to look up high in the sky. There are more dust
particles and oxygen molecules at the horizon, so that is why you see such
pretty colors like red, oranges and yellows.
How do we get rainbows?
Rainbows are spectacular
rays of color. Sunlight looks white, but it's really made up of different
colors...red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. The sun makes
rainbows when white sunlight passes through rain drops. The raindrops act like
tiny prisms. They bend the different colors in white light, so the light
spreads out into a band of colors that can be reflected back to you as a rainbow.
Where do you look for a rainbow?
Three conditions must be met in order for you to see a
rainbow. First, it must be raining. Second, the sun must be shining. Third, the
observer must be between the sun and the rain. The lower the sun is in the sky,
the higher the arc of the rainbow will be.
Can rainbows make a full-circle?
If you could get up high
enough in the sky, then you'd see that some rainbows continue below the
horizon. That's because when the sun and rain combine to make a rainbow, they
really make a full-circle rainbow. We can't see all of the circle, because the
horizon blocks it from our view. Pilots high in the sky do sometimes report
seeing genuine full-circle rainbows.
Are there double rainbows?
Yes, they do happen! The
inner and brighter rainbow has the red on the top and the blue on the bottom
side. The outer and dimmer rainbow has the color scheme
Why can't you ever find the end of a rainbow?
A rainbow is an optical illusion, so you just can't catch
up to it. When you move, so does it!.
Can a rainbow appear during the night?
Yes! The nighttime rainbow is
very rare and occurs only when the moon is bright enough and positioned
properly with respect to falling rain to produce the beautiful
What are the Northern Lights?
The Northern Lights, commonly
referred to as the Aurora Borealis, are the result of interactions between the
Sun and Earth's outer atmosphere. They are one of the most spectacular light
shows to watch as vivid colors glow in the sky. In the Southern Hemisphere, it
is called the Aurora Australis.
What causes the auroras?
Most auroras occur in response to
energetic particles from a solar storm, which cause the gases of the thin upper
atmosphere to glow. They take place at heights between 50 to 100 miles above
the Earth. The aurora can last anywhere between a few minutes to several hours.
Auroras are most common in polar regions. The various colors, of which green
and red predominate, are the results of various light emissions from oxygen and
nitrogen gases being energized by the solar particles.
What are crepuscular rays?
Crepuscular rays are are bands of sunlight shining through
breaks in clouds on the horizon.
What is a
A halo is a ring around the moon
or sun produced by refraction of light through a thin cloud of ice crystals.
The halo had red colors on the inside of the ring shifting to blue on the
What are sun dogs?
Sun dogs are bright spots that appear on either side of the sun when there are thin layers of high
ice crystal clouds otherwise known as Cirrus clouds. This can also happen at
night. These are called moon dogs.
What are sun pillars?
Sun pillars are luminous
vertical streaks of light, while or sometimes slightly reddish in color,
extending from above and below the sun. They are the result of the light being
reflected by the mirror-like surfaces of ice crystals. They are common to see
around sunrise and sunset.
What is a blue moon?
term is used when a full moon occurs twice in the same calendar month. It
happens every 2.7 years and never in the month of February because there are
not enough days. Is the moon really blue, though? It depends! Most moons are
not blue, but if there is a volcanic eruption or even a forest fire, the smoke
in the sky can turn the moon a blue color.
What are blue jets?
The blue jet appears as a blue column of light that
squirts out the top of a thunderstorm at speeds of 62 miles per second. They
sometimes reach a height of 25 to 30 miles. What exactly causes blue jets is
What is a mirage?
A mirage is a refraction
phenomena in which the image of some object appears displaced from its true
position. A common example of a mirage is the appearance of water some distance
down the highway on a hot summer day.
What are sprites?
Sprites are huge blobs of light that occur briefly above thunderstorms. They can extend
55-60 miles high into the ionosphere and can be 100 or more miles wide. Most
are invisible to the naked eye on the ground. The best way to see them is from
a high-flying aircraft.
What are elves?
Elves are bright flashes of light in the night sky
resulting from lightning within thunderstorms. The thin upper atmosphere gives
off a brief glow as the electromagnetic pulse from a lightning bolt passes
through on its way to outer space. Elves are too fast to be seen with the naked
eye, last less than one-thousandth of a second.