ROANOKE, Va. – We’ll never celebrate wildfires or the destruction they cause. That said, the smoke from a wildfire in Colorado traveled cross country over the weekend and had a different (to some, more uplifting) effect on our sky.
Peter Forister captured that perfectly over the weekend, as did many of you. You can see those pictures in the gallery at the bottom of this article.
How does smoke enhance the colors at sunset?
The sun’s light travels at different wavelengths, which corresponds to a different color. For instance, the shortest wavelength is blue. When the sun is directly overhead, that light is scattered by air molecules.
When the sun gets lower, its light travels through more of the earth’s atmosphere. This filters out the shorter wavelengths and exposes different colors such as orange and red. When smoke is in the sky, there are more particles to scatter the light around. This adds to the red, orange, pink and purples that you see at that hour.
View the gallery below
Peter Forister - Blue Ridge Parkway