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Actually, it's not water molecules in the air refracting light that causes the sky to appear blue. It's the process of the different light spectrums (ROY G BIV - or red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo & violet) colliding with the gas molecules in the atmosphere; the atmosphere is made up of nitrogen (78%), oxygen (21%), then argon & water (H2O) along with other gases. The colors have different wavelengths, frequencies, and energies. There is an inverse relationship between wavelength and frequency & energy ie the shortest wavelength has the highest frequency & energy. Violet has the shortest wavelength in the visible spectrum. That means it has the highest frequency and energy. Red has the longest wavelength, and lowest frequency and energy. Light travels through space in a straight line as long as nothing disturbs it. As light moves through the atmosphere, it continues to go straight until it bumps into a bit of dust or a gas molecule. Then what happens to the light depends on its wave length and the size of the object it hits. Dust particles and water droplets are much larger than the wavelength of visible light. When light hits these large particles, it gets reflected, or bounced off, in different directions. The different colors of light are all reflected by the particle in the same way. The reflected light appears white because it still contains all of the same colors. Gas molecules are smaller than the wavelength of visible light. If light bumps into them, it acts differently. When light hits a gas molecule, some of it may get absorbed. After awhile, the molecule radiates (releases, or gives off) the light in a different direction. The color that is radiated is the same color that was absorbed. The different colors of light are affected differently. All of the colors can be absorbed. But the higher frequencies (BIVs or the blues) are absorbed more often than the lower frequencies (ROYs or the reds). This process is called Rayleigh scattering.
Therefore, the blue color of the sky is due to Rayleigh scattering. As light moves through the atmosphere, most of the longer wavelengths pass straight through. Little of the red, orange and yellow light is affected by the air.
However, much of the shorter wavelength light is absorbed by the gas molecules. The absorbed blue light is then radiated in different directions. It gets scattered all around the sky. Whichever direction you look, some of this scattered blue light reaches you. Since you see the blue light from everywhere overhead, the sky looks blue.
This leads to another question. Why is the sky blue but not violet, since both colors are frequently absorbed by gas molecules. That answer lies in human anatomy. In the back of our eyes are located lots of cones & rods to detect colors. Our eyes are more sensitive to, or have more structures for, detecting the color blue (a primary color) so that is the color we see.
This lesson was brought to you by the letter B!!!!
Ha Ha...now the challenge is to sit down and tell Elaina all of that! If she retains all of that information, then she IS a genius, even if she'll be bottle fed, and will probably score at the top of the charts on her IQ exam! Hope you caught my sarcasm there. Hah, hah!!!!
Originally posted by ericalaurel@Oct 20 2005, 10:50 AM Ha Ha...now the challenge is to sit down and tell Elaina all of that!* If she retains all of that information, then she IS a genius, even if she'll be bottle fed, and will probably score at the top of the charts on her IQ exam!* Hope you caught my sarcasm there.* * Hah, hah!!!!
Well, I have a couple ideas how you can teach that concept to a toddler - just PM me if you want to know them. HaHa - I did catch the sarcasm!!!
Originally posted by Fallen2Love@Oct 14 2005, 12:09 PM LOL!* The sky is PURPLE!*
No j/k I think its "supposed to be" blue.*
But OMG -- I will never forget this rain storm, when I was 13.* They sky litterally changed every color imaginable right before my eyes.* Blue, Black, Green, Red, Pink, Purple, Gray, etc.* It was SCARY!!
I swear I saw that one time when there was mini tornadoes all over..it was freaky!!
Originally posted by Jody@Oct 20 2005, 04:04 PM I remember one time, when I was in elementary school, they sky turned yellow cause it was so hot, and they sent us all home
wow! i wish i was sent home because of the heat...where do you live?
At the end of the day you get nothing for nothing...[/i]
Originally posted by ericalaurel@Oct 20 2005, 11:50 AM Ha Ha...now the challenge is to sit down and tell Elaina all of that!* If she retains all of that information, then she IS a genius, even if she'll be bottle fed, and will probably score at the top of the charts on her IQ exam!* Hope you caught my sarcasm there.* * Hah, hah!!!!
Pam, mom to Brenden,Connor and Isaac Magoo