Why Does the Sun Appear Reddish Early in the Morning? - Science

Answer in Brief

Why does the sun appear reddish early in the morning? Will this phenomenon be observed by an observer on the moon? Justify your answer with a reason.

Why does the Sun appear reddish early in the morning?

Give scientific reason :

The sun appears reddish early in the morning.

Why does the sun appear reddish early in the morning? Will this phenomenon be observed by an astronaut on the Moon ? Give reason to justify your answer.


Solution 1

At sunrise, the Sun is located near the horizon of the Earth and hence, light has to travel a long distance through the Earth’s atmosphere. The suspended atmospheric particles have a wavelength similar to that of blue light. When sunlight falls on the atmosphere, the blue light is scattered out by these atmospheric particles. The light that reaches the surface of the Earth is predominantly red. Hence, when this less scattered red light reaches our eyes, the Sun and its surroundings appear reddish.

No, the same phenomenon will not occur on the Moon as there is no atmosphere on its surface to scatter light.

Solution 2

At the time of sunrise or sunset, the sun is very close to the horizon. Sunlight has to travel a longer path through the atmosphere to reach the observer. The blue and violet colours are scattered in a greater amount than red colour. They are scattered away from the path of light as the thickness of the atmosphere is more between the horizon and the observer. The light that reaches the observer is mostly red and yellow. Hence the colour of the sky is reddish orange.

Concept: Applications of Scattering of Light
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Chapter 11: The Human Eye and the Colourful World - Exercises [Page 198]


What is meant by scattering of light? Use this phenomenon to explain why the clear sky appears blue or the Sun appears reddish at sunrise.

Why does sun appear red at sunrise and sunset?

Which color of white light is scattered the least and why?

What colours lie on the two sides of the 'green colour' in the spectrum of white light?

Which colour of the spectrum has 

 longest wavelength,  

Which colour of light has the shorter wavelength − red or violet?

What is meant by dispersion of white light? Describe the formation of rainbow in the sky with the help of a diagram.

 Draw a neat and labelled diagram of the experimental set up for observing the scattering of light in a colloidal solution of sulphur to show how the sky appears blue, and the sun appears red at sunrise and sunset.

When sunlight enters the earth’s atmosphere, state which colour of light is scattered the most and which the least.

How would the sky appear when seen from the space (or moon)? Give reason for your answer.

What characteristic property of light is responsible for the blue colour of the sky?

The colour of sky, in direction other than of the sun, is blue. Explain.

Why does the sun appear red at sunrises and sunset?

The clouds are seen white. Explain

In white light of sun, maximum scattering by the air molecular present in the earth’s atmosphere is for :

Using the phenomenon of scattering of light, explain why there is a difference in the colour of the sun as it appears during sunrise and at noon.

Draw a labelled diagram to show (i) reddish appearance of the sun at the sunrise or the sunset and (ii) white appearance of the sun at noon when it is overhead.

In the atmosphere which colour of light gets scattered the least?

Is the position of a star as seen by us its true position? Justify your answer.

How can we explain the reddish appearance of sun at sunrise or sunset? Why does it not appear red at noon?

Blue colour of sky is due to the phenomenon of


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