Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Colorful Sunsets
Name: laurie swatek
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1993 - 1999

Where do the colorful sunsets get their color?.

Well, to be perfectly blunt, dirt. *grin* To clarify, the dust in the air reflects red light and absorbs blue light. The dust (and some gasses, too.) in the atmosphere is blown up from land by the winds, and are the source of that old sailor's rhyme:

Red sky by night, sailor's delight;
Red sky by morning, sailor's warning.

By knowing what direction the dust was in, one could estimate the direction the winds were coming from, and thus could predict the weather with a fair amount of accuracy.


Click here to return to the Astronomy Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory