Why Are Sunsets Red?

The city of Santa Fe, NM, USA, lies at the foot of the southernmost range of the Rocky Mountains. It was founded in 1610 by the Spanish conquistadores as the capital of their northern territories in the Americas. They named the nearby mountain range the Sangre de Cristo mountains, meaning “blood of Christ”. This name was inspired by the deep red glow that is cast over these mountains just before the Sun disappears below the horizon at the end of the day. But what is it that causes everything to turn red during a sunset?

Last sunlight on the Sangre de Cristo mountains, New Mexico, USA. Click the pic for a full-size view.

Read the answer at Plus magazine, where this week’s article is hosted.


Photograph © Wim Hordijk

This article is part of the Beauty and Science of Nature series.