Pink sunrises and sunsets caused by the powerful volcanic explosion of Raikoke

The explosion of the Raikoke volcano, which took place on 22 June last on an island off the coast of Russia, in the Pacific Ocean, projected large quantities of ash and sulphuric gas into the atmosphere, up to 10 miles away. It was a quite strong and violent explosion even considering that the last volcanic eruption that put similar quantities of gas in the atmosphere occurred only in 1991 when the Pinatubo exploded in the Philippines.

Now a group of researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have linked the recent sunsets and dawns with characteristic pink or purplish shades that several photographers have immortalized in different regions of the United States just to this eruption.

When sunrise or sunset occurs, the light moves more angularly and is more filtered through particles suspended in the area called aerosols. These particles, depending on the gas they contain, can act like the balls you see in discos, reflecting light with very special effects, colors and directions of reflection.

This is what happened with the Raikoke Volcano: the sulfur launched into the atmosphere is causing a similar light dispersion effect that occurs only when there is dawn or dusk in areas even thousands of miles away. Several photographs have also been taken in Colorado.

To feel the effect, in addition to being at the time of the album or sunset, you need special weather conditions and in general a bit of luck, as reported in the press release that appeared on the website of the University of Colorado. However, the same effect is naturally temporary and will not last forever (perhaps it will persist for a couple of months more according to the researchers).


Links/Sources:

https://www.colorado.edu/today/2019/09/12/volcanic-eruption-may-explain-recent-purple-sunrises

David Turner

A computer science major, David is a talented Python and Javascript developer and freelance programmer who founded IBN News during his spare time to indulge in and share his passion for the latest scientific research. David is an avid reader of numerous academic journals and maintains a strong interest in a variety of fields from astronomy to biology to nanoscience.

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