Monday, February 15, 2016

Winter Light

I've been studying the sky these days. I have to walk twice a day and have plenty of time to look around without worrying about hitting a pothole or tripping over a curb. I figured I'd find out why the sky is the color it is when it is.

The color of the sky has to do with the way sunlight interacts with air molecules. Blue light, which is at the short end of the visible spectrum, scatters more during the day when we look at parts of the sky away from the sun, so see more blue than red. During sunset or sunrise, however, most of the light from the sun hits our planet at a sharp angle making the path so long that most of the blue and green light is scattered away by the time we see it. That's why we see mostly red.

Rayleigh scattering refers to the scattering of light off of the molecules of the air, extended to particles up to about a tenth of the wavelength of the light. It is Rayleigh scattering off the molecules of the air which gives us the blue sky. 

When large particles in the atmosphere are able to scatter all wavelengths of white light equally, Mie scattering is occurring. This is why clouds are white sometimes.

I think this painting is depicting Mie scattering.  But I'm not sure I know what I'm talking about and I really don't have time to be an expert.

 

Winter Light • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

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