Purple Sunsets? Blame a Volcano

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Be alert for purple sunsets around the world…

And if this happens to you, blame a volcano!

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If you see purple sunset, blame a volcano. Picture by Piotr Wieczorek

Yes, the purple was everywhere… even reflected in the water of the lake. WOW!

Blame Volcanoes for Purple Sunsets

This summer, two volcanoes have spewed sulfurous gas into the stratosphere: the Raikoke volcano in the Kirul Islands (June 22nd) and the Ulawun volcano in New Guinea (Aug. 3rd).

Fine volcanic aerosols in the stratosphere scatter blue light which, when mixed with ordinary sunset red, produces a purple hue. 

Sky watchers have been seeing purple sunsets ever since Raikoke erupted. The volcanic gas appears to be patchily distributed, bringing strange sunsets on some nights, but not all. Clear air, lack of clouds, and country settings improves their visibility.

Tonight when the sun goes down, step outside into the twilight. You might find yourself surrounded by purple… And that would be amazing, no?

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