Science with Stevie: Why is the sky blue?

Science With Stevie

(WIVB)–One of the world’s most asked questions by kids and even adults: Why is the Sky Blue? That is what we are going over in this week’s episode of Science with Stevie!

It has to deal with particles in the atmosphere and light from the sun. Sunlight will interact with very small particles in the sky, like Oxygen, Nitrogen, and Carbon Dioxide. And, these molecules are so abundant in Earth’s atmosphere.

Looking at the visible light spectrum red has the longest wavelength, whereas blue and violet have the shortest wavelength and you can see, they are on the opposite ends of the spectrum. A physicist named John Strutt, discovered that light gets scattered when it enters Earth’s atmosphere, this is known as Rayleigh Scattering.

Fun fact, the sun contains all the colors in the rainbow. Since red light has a longer wavelength, it scatters less and does not interact with a lot of the molecules in the atmosphere. The blue light will scatter more and run into and strike more of the molecules present in the atmosphere. But, the interesting thing is, violet light is scattered even more by the tiny particles, so why isn’t the sky purple?

It is because the sun sends out more blue light than violet light. Our eyes are most sensitive and perceive the middle of the spectrum more sharply, allowing blue light to be more visible than violet light. Our eyes have a hard time seeing violet, which is why the violet band of a rainbow is often times difficult to see. 

Have a weather question? Email them here, tweet at @StevieDanielsWX or follow on Facebook to ask.

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