A journey into the eyes and mind of a naturalist.

Superior Sunrise

Watching a sunrise is a special event in my mind.  Sunrises are much more special that sunsets, most anybody can witness a sunset by simply staying awake long enough to watch the sun dip below the horizon.  Sunrise requires a different motivation all together.  Unlike sunsets, sunrise is just after the coldest part of the day and usually well before most people are stirring from their daily slumber.  Summer sunrises in the northern latitudes occur much earlier than most people would care to mention.  The sun is only below the horizon for several hours in summer, but its glow on the horizon can be seen well after it has set and well before it rises.

Well before the sun rises above the horizon it begins to paint the horizon with colors that can not be replicated through photography or even paint.  The brilliant colors are a result of the reflection and refraction of light passing through the atmosphere.  At the horizon, light must travel through much more atmosphere to reach your eye.  As is passes through the atmosphere parts of that light (different wavelengths) are filtered or reflected.  What is left when it reaches your eyes is perceived as the brilliant reds, oranges, pinks, and yellows.

As the sun rises higher in the sky the light must pass through less atmosphere to reach your eye, allowing all the different wavelengths to reach your eye.  This is perceived as “white” light.  That is why we usually only see the brilliant colors at sunrise and sunset.

If sunrise is amazing moonrise is nothing but magical.  The sun was rising to the northeast and the moon was setting to the southeast.  An amazing experience.

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Up Next:  Superior Moonrise


One response

  1. Lilach

    Great photos and saying!


    Mary’s friend from Israel.

    May 28, 2011 at 02:25

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