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Summer Sunsets

July 12, 2016
By Robert and Libby Strong and Richard Pollack , OVParent

Summer sunsets are often beautiful and almost breathtaking. The clouds glow with vibrant colors, and the friendly sun dips below our horizon. Our star, the Sun, also known as Sol, will "rise" again the next day. Even from more than 93 million miles (almost 150 million kilometers) away, our sun brightens our skies, warms the surface of the Earth and makes life for humans possible.

Why is the sunset often red? The reason is because of our atmosphere. Visible light is made of the colors of the rainbow (see April 2016 OVParent SMART Science article "April Showers May Bring Rainbows"). Particles (even molecules) in our atmosphere scatter blue light, and the longer wavelengths of red pass through. At sunset, these red wavelengths travel the farthest to reach our eye. The blue light does not reach us at sunset. For an article that explains in detail why the sky is blue and sunsets are red, go to: why-is-the-sky-blue-why-are-sunsets-red/

Article Photos

The sunset photograph here was taken at GrandVue Park, Adventure Site 1 on June 11,just before a StarWatch event. The SMART-Center and Near Earth Object Foundation will be working to bring a StarWatch to GrandVue Park the second Saturday of each month beginning at 8 p.m.

Taking photographs of sunsets is a hobby for many people. Have you ever taken a photograph of a sunset? Many people carry a camera in their pocket now (cellphone cameras), and a photograph is much easier to take. There are even websites and apps to help you know when to take the best sunset photos. One of these websites is This website will "forecast" the best time of day for perfect sunset photography. The map will show which areas are best for good sunset photos as well. See how many different colors you can capture in your sunset photos.

If you want to share your photographs of sunsets, you can go to our Facebook page for either "" or "SMART Centre Market." It is great to see what fellow science and art enthusiasts capture in their photography!

Fact Box

Share your sunset photos on our

Facebook pages at ""

or "SMART Centre Market."

- Libby and Robert Strong and Richard Pollack work with the SMART-Center, a hands-on science outreach and education organization in the northern Ohio Valley, the headquarters of which is located at the SMART Centre Market, 30 22nd St., Wheeling.



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