Predicting beautiful sunsets

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by spiralout, Dec 20, 2004.

  1. spiralout

    spiralout TPF Noob!

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    Have you guys discovered any way (scientific or otherwise) to predict a beautiful sunset? I've taken to looking out the window every 3 minutes or so while at work (I ALWAYS have to work at sunset!) trying to see if I can figure it out what conditions cause specific sunsets. I took a shot there the other day where the sky just went absolutely nuts- pinks and golds and purples, oh wow! :shock:- and I believe it had a lot to do with pretty good high altitude cloud cover. I've heard that dust also has a lot to do with it. I'm just curious... I'm fascinated with weather :D .
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    During the summer...I just watch the clouds and get a gut feeling. Quite often I can predict a nice sunset and be prepared for it.

    The bigger problem is being the right place to get a good scene to go with the sunset. I have watched many sunsets...wishing I was somewhere else so I could make it worth my time to pull out the camera & tripod. Usually by the time you see how spectacular it is...it's too late to get to a good spot.

    A good tip is to have a few spots picked out. When you think a nice sunset is imanent...just pack up and get there fast. Then you can be prepared.

    As for scientific forecasting...I don't know. I just look for high and/or mid level clouds. Cirrus clouds are high, thin and wispy. They can reflect nice colors. Cumulus are lower than cirrus and usually have more form. They can make for some nice texture in the sky.

    A good tip when shooting sunsets is to turn around and take a look. The low sun makes for some really nice directional warm light that is great for shooting just about anything. All too often we miss this because we are too concerned with the actual sunset.
     
  3. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Uh-huh. It's the dust and dirt in the atmosphere that cause coloured sunsets. The 'best' are when there has been a big volcanic eruption somewhere. But if you are in an area where there is high population density using coal and wood you can get good ones.
    It's is all explained here:

    http://ww2010.atmos.uiuc.edu/(Gl)/guides/mtr/opt/air/sun.rxml

    Sunrise/sun set times can be found here:

    http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneDay.html

    There is some info here:

    http://australiasevereweather.com/techniques/simple/sunrise.htm
     
  4. lazarus219

    lazarus219 TPF Noob!

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    I actually learnt alot a bit this in science- the dust in the sky makes all the colors because the wavelengths (of color) have to get through all this dust- during the day the sky is usually blue because it has the longest wavelength and the other colors are scattered before we can see them- at the end of the day there is less dust and this allows the other colors to come throughg more obviously- thinking about this the only way i would think would help me predict a good sunset is if the weather ahs been perfect all day and there is a lot of high clouds but spread apart- oher than that its just see it and snap it
     
  5. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    You should have paid more attention in class :LOL: Blue has a short wavelength and dust particles scatter it. There is more dust in the air at the end of the day.
    Go to the first link above and read. There will be a short test afterwards :twisted:
     
  6. lazarus219

    lazarus219 TPF Noob!

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    oops :) sorry- i thought i had that right even though i read somethnig on it the other day on another forum
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Correct me if I'm wrong...but it's not so much that there is more "dust" in the air at the end of the day. (how would that explain the colorful sun rise?)

    I believe that it has more to do with the angle at which we see the sun relative to our position on the globe. At dusk & dawn, we see the sun light though more atmosphere (at an angle) which allows us to see the other color wave lengths scattered in the sky.
     
  8. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    When the sun is low in the sky there is indeed a lot more atmosphere for the light to go through - which is why the sun looks orange at these times. But the question was about spectacular sunsets and these are caused by large amounts of atmospheric particles in the air which block the blue wavelengths and only allow red and yellow light through, enhancing the whole thing.
    And people still drive cars and light fires at night so there can be just as much 'dust' in the air in the morning.
    Try this link:

    http://www.sciencemadesimple.com/sky_blue.html

    It even explains why the sky is blue.....
     
  9. celery

    celery TPF Noob!

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    It's just partially dust. The more pollution the better then sky will look.

    So, if you have a horrible looking day outside, bad visibility due to pollution, not fog or grey weather (but there are still lots of clouds), there will be a strong vibrant sunset.
     
  10. Geronimo

    Geronimo TPF Noob!

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    Learn the weather patterns for an area.
     
  11. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    :shock: weather has a pattern?! You obviously don't live in England :LOL:
     

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