Optical Illusions in the Sky

When looking up into the sky there are many things people see that be explained through science. Some of the sights in the sky that can be explained by science include the blue color of the sky, rainbows, auroras, and a blue moon.

The atmosphere of the Earth is like a very thin blanket in which the sun's rays pass through at different angles. The sun shines white and black light to our planet through the atmosphere. The white light has all the different colors in it. In the upper atmosphere, there are dust particles and oxygen molecules. The white light, which includes all the colors of a rainbow, shines through the upper levels of the atmosphere. The blue light then scatters across the entire planet. That is why the sky is blue. It does not reflect off the ocean water like some people believe. The sky is blue because of how the sun's rays pass through the atmosphere of the Earth.

Rainbows are beautiful rays of color. Even though the sunlight looks white or yellow, it is really made up of different colors...red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. The sun makes rainbows when white sunlight passes through rain drops. The raindrops then act like tiny prisms. They bend the different colors in white light, so the light spreads out into a band of colors that can be reflected back as a rainbow in the sky.

Three things must take place before someone can see a rainbow. It must be raining. Next, the sun must be shining. Finally, the observer must be standing between the sun and the rain. The lower the sun is in the sky, the higher the arc of a rainbow will be. One of the ways to remember the colors of the rainbow is by using the first letters in a name: ROY G. BIV, which is red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

Auroras are the result of interactions between the Sun and Earth's outer atmosphere. They occur in response to energetic particles from a solar storm, which cause the gases of the thin upper atmosphere to glow. A solar storm is a type of large explosion in the sun's atmosphere. The auroras take place at heights between 50 to 100 miles above the Earth. The aurora can last anywhere between a few minutes to several hours. The various colors are caused by some of the gases in the atmosphere. One example of an aurora on Earth is the Northern Lights, also called the Aurora Borealis.

A blue moon is usually referred to as a second full moon in the same month. It happens every 2.7 years and never in the month of February because there are not enough days. The moon is not necessarily blue. Blue moons can occur though, but they can occur at any time of the year. If there is a volcanic eruption or even a forest fire, the smoke in the sky can make the moon look blue.

In summary there are several optical illusions in the sky that can be explained by science. The blue color of the sky, rainbows, auroras, and blue moons all occur due to the interaction between the sun, the Earth's atmosphere, and other variables such as rain, smoke, or particles in the air. The Northern Lights is an aurora which is caused by a solar storm in the Sun's atmosphere. All of these optical illusions give off beautiful colors and can be seen for miles. All of it, though, can also be explained by science.

A: violet, red, orange, green, yellow, blue, indigo
B: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet
C: red, blue, orange, yellow, green, indigo, violet
D: green, indigo, blue, red, orange, violet, yellow

A: Aurora
B: Rainbow
C: Atmosphere
D: Solar storm

A: The reflection of the sun's rays off the ocean
B: The sunlight causes our eyes to see blue and no other color
C: How the sun's rays pass through the atmosphere of the Earth
D: How the sun's rays reacts to a solar storm

A: Rainbow
B: Blue moon
C: Aurora
D: Rain

A: It must be raining.
B: The sun must be shining.
C: The observer must be standing between the sun and the rain.
D: The temperature must be between 60 and 70 degrees.

A: Smoke
B: Clouds
C: Fog
D: Rain

Related Topics
Rainbow Facts
Science Reading Comprehension

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