On the 16th October people across the UK turned their heads to the sky as it looked like an Instagram filter had been applied in real life. Following the passage of ex-hurricane Ophelia, the colour of the sun and the sky turned eerie shades of oranges and reds. Southerly winds not only bought warm, tropical air to part of southern UK, it also bought dust from the Sahara and smoke from forest fires in Spain and Portugal to the UK.
These dust and smoke particles high up in the atmosphere scattered the shorter wavelength blue light from the sun letting more of the longer wavelength red light through – it’s similar to the phenomenon we sometimes see at sunrise or sunset (learn more here >>). As a result, the sun, and the surrounding sky, appeared a captivating reddish colour.