Why is the sky blue?
As a landscape artist, most of my paintings are focused on showing the beauty of the sky. While I was in the middle of the marshland studying every inch of it and painting a field study, I started to paint the sky on my painting. I started to focus on the details of the sky and clouds and every color that I could distinguish. That day, the sky was a beautiful blue. The blue looked so alive and relaxing. I started wondering and asking myself why the sky is blue. Oddly enough I could not figure it out, even though I have painted the sky so many times. You would figure that I would know and that other artists would know why the sky is blue and why all the beautiful sunsets are the colors that they are. So I started to read some books and did some research online. I was fascinated with all of the information and actually learned why the sky is blue and the other colors it appears to be. From that day on, I actually started applying that information while painting. I started to see a difference in my paintings. My paintings became more alive and realistic. They felt like I was there breathing and smelling that specific scenery. So this is what I came up with after doing some reading. I will try to explain it as simply as possible.
Why is the sky blue.This would be a strong contender for sciences dirtiest trick question. Because really it isn’t blue. In fact it isn’t any color at all. It all comes down to how the human brain interprets visible electromagnetic radiation, A.K.A sunlight. Although raw sunlight appears white, it’s actually a mixture of all the magical colors of the rainbow. Isaac Newton demonstrated this when he used a prism to separate them out. A little party trick known as refraction. These colors form the visible range of what’s called the electromagnetic spectrum. It includes superhero powers like gamma rays and x-rays at one end and less sexy microwaves and radio waves at the other. Light waves on this spectrum are so small they are measured in nanometers or billionths of a meter. Each color has its own individual wavelength and frequency. But in space they combine to produce white light and all travel at the same speed, the speed of light. If you go out into space, space looks black because there is no atmosphere. There are no gases in space. To actually scatter that light so the effect is that you don’t see anything. It is an offering to break the light up of reflect if off so it looks black.
The action doesn’t really begin until the light reaches earth and crashes headlong into the oxygen and nitrogen molecules that make up 99% of our atmosphere. Its then that the colors start to separate with some getting knocked around more than others.
I find it’s called Lord Rallying? that showed that the higher the energy the shorter the wavelength. The more easily these photons of light would be scattered by particles in the air. And that means they would change directions and not follow the original trajectory that they were following. And given this finding it follows that short wavelength blue light is always scattered. This means that when it hits the atmosphere the air molecules scatter the blue light everywhere. While other colors pass straight through with barely a scratch. So blue appears to be coming from all over the sky as it makes its way to your eyes. And voila a blue sky.
As you look closer to the horizon, the sky appears much paler in color. To reach you, the scattered blue light must pass through more air. Some of it gets scattered away again in other directions. Less blue light reaches your eyes. The color of the sky near the horizon appears paler or white.
At sunrise and sunset, the sun is at a much lower angle in the sky and has to penetrate through a much greater depth of the atmosphere. And there’s a lot more scattering can take place at that light, so the blue light that we would normally see in the daytime gets scattered away and it’s the light that has the least scattering effect so the oranges and the reds that actually can penetrate through and reach our eyes. And those are the lights that we see or our brains think that we see at sunrise and sunset. It’s the oranges and the reds that have the least scattering that takes place.
Our eyes only pick up the wavelength and send that signal to the brain. The brain then decides what color that wavelength should be while painting the whole picture in real time. It’s the original blue sky thinking.
I know that it is very scientific, and for some of you it will be difficult to understand. But, if you actually put some thought into it you will eventually figure it out. If you start applying some of the information that I just gave you to your paintings, it will make a big difference. You will actually know why the sky is blue and why every color that you see is that color. I hope you have learned something today that will help you with your paintings. The next time somebody asks you why the sky is blue, well you can tell them. If you have any questions feel free to comment.