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Sunrise -- Sunset ...

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A science learner has sent in the following question:

It seems to me that the sunsets are often more beautiful than the sunrises. Can you help me understand why this might be so?

 

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Rolando Barcelon
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Seeing the beauty of something is a gift from God.  Somebody may see one thing as beautiful and another opposite. . My best friend may look beautiful to me but not to my mother or my father.  

Probably, the nature of the colors gives a particular impact to the viewer.  Really, in the Manila Bay area, sunset would be  the most awaited event for most of the people there because it creates a distinct scenery for them.

But for the farmers in the eastern part of the Philippines, especially my father and neighboring farmers, sunrise would be the most beautiful thing that may happen in a day. It is the time where they start to plant or harvest crops, earn money through tilling lands and the like. It is the best predictor if they can eat or not.

Truly, sunrise and sunset are beautiful to witness as God created them. However, either one may be preferred by somebody.

God bless us all!

-Rolan (Master Teacher I in Science)

 Quirino High School, Quezon City Philippines

 

hernandez5
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Hello,

I think that sometimes we try to see more science than necessary. First, beauty is a matter of perception. Second, it is easier to admire a sunset than a sunrise. We are outside, with friends, the afternoon ends we see the sun setting, excellent reflections, especially if it sets over de sea, and slowly the shadow of the earth and the starry night. We have to wake up very early to have the same experience with the sun rise. We must be there when it is really dark and starry to spot the first lights on the horizon, the changing colors in the atmosphere and the long shadows getting shorter as the sun rises...

I have seen more sunsets than sunrises, but will never forget the sunrise from a hilltop in Rumsiki, an area with curious hill formations in north Cameroon. More closely, I recommend the sunrise at Bryce Canyon, very dramatic for the far visibility and the shadows and colors of the earth columns.

   Ramon

 

TomLough
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[This reply is posted by Tom Lough on behalf of Gabriel Huerta Pecina, who is experiencing technical difficulties.]

Hi Neha

The concept of beauty it’s relative around the world and within cultures, but if you are doing a reference in the differences between the colors in sunset and sunrise, The "color" of sunlight depends on the composition of the frequency spectrum

The intensity and frequency spectrum generated by the sun light is altered when light passes through the atmosphere, this is due to absorption, reflection and scattering that takes place within it, the gases in the atmospheric layer act as filters for certain frequencies, which are diminished in intensity or completely absorbed, this give us the different color in sunset versus sunrises.

I hope it helps.

Regards

GABRIEL HUERTA PECINA
Schlumberger Information Solutions (SIS)
Quality Operational Excellence MCA
 

daccord1
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I would think this is related to the amount of water vapor present in the atmosphere: in the morning, the air is cold and water vapor is close to saturation. This causes fog, hence a lot of light diffraction. On the other hand, at the end of the day the air is warmer, and the water vapor is far from the dew point: there is less diffraction.

There could be another reason, which would work in the opposite direction, namely air pollution. One would expect air pollution to be higher at the end of day rather than at the beginning. Of course this argument would not hold true in the countryside where pollution is low...

There might be other reasons, including subjective ones, e.g. you enjoy better the beauty of nature when fully awake than when coming out of bed.

TomLough
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Your posting also made me think about hot air balloons and why they like to launch in the early morning hours. Do you think that these atmospheric conditions could also relate to differences in the perceived beauty of sunrise and sunset? (Most of the hot air balloons I have seen were in the dawn hours, but I think I might remember seeing an occasional one up in the late afternoon.)

NRao2
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Neha,

I guess it is a matter of perception. In a sunrise, the sun starts being mellow and with time, becomes brighter and brighter. While sunsets are quite the opposite. You start off with a bright sun and it gradually mellows down.

Also in a sunset, the colors are much brighter than in a sunrise. The shorter wavelengths of light are removed due to scattering by air molecules and particles much smaller than the wavelength of visible light. And in the evenings, due to pollution and various other factors, there is much more particles in the air leading to increased scattering of light.

But both sunrise and sunsets are equally wonderful and beautiful.

Hope this helps.

Regards

Narahari

GHernandez6
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I too agree with Narahi when he says that it is a matter of perception. Meaning, are you a morning person or an evening person?
A morning person gets up early and is able to see the sunrise and enjoy the beauty of the dawning of a new day as the sunlight hits on the morning dew.
Obviously, this person would then answer: Sunrise--definitley better!
However an evening person who enjoys the cool and calm of the day after a hard day's labor would tell you that a sunset gives them the oppurtunity to unwind, relax, and reflect
Sunset--it is the best!

I personally enjoy the sunset. That is the time of day when the hustle is over, and we can sit and enjoy the creation of God's splendor. Some mornings can just be a bit tough in getting up  wink...

 

Here is a link to tips on photographing Surise\Sunsets... http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/sunset-sunrise-photography.html