Madi Gibson, MVC Writer

How often do people go outside and look up to the sky to see a beautiful array of colors? Do they wonder where the colors came from? It’s called scattering, or in this case, light scattering. According to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, scattering occurs when light rays hit particles in the air, changing the direction of the light. The colors seen are dictated by the different light wavelengths and the proportions of particles in the air. 

Looking back on early elementary education, kids are taught the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. These wavelengths are very important in the variation of colors. According to NASA,  the visual light spectrum is also important, with red having the longest wavelength and violet with the shortest wavelength. This is why sunsets regularly have a dominant red or orange color. It is also why the sky is blue during the day. The blue is scattered more because of its travel in shorter and smaller wavelengths. Sunsets create an aesthetic atmosphere that many people cherish. 

Just like the term “tree huggers” signifies a person who loves the environment, sunset lovers are called “sunset chasers.” These people are far more than those who pause to admire the evening sky, but people who take an extra step in their admiration of sunsets. Some take time out of their busy evening to take a car ride to see the sunset or those who wait to get the picture-perfect post of a sunset. 

Why do some people have so much fascination with sunsets? What makes them so intriguing to the human eye? According to a study at the University of California at Barkley, “being attuned to the natural beauty of sunsets can improve a person’s emotional wellbeing.” This may be why people are so allured by them. They increase dopamine levels or the “happy hormone.” Sunsets create a comfortable and safe environment for many, it is a good thing they happen every day.