When smoke gets in your skies


(WOWK) — Skies in the region Monday had a hazy look but it wasn’t haze, it was smoke.

Weather eye camera in Ashland, KY Monday afternoon showing smoke in the skies
Smoke as detected by satellite Monday evening

The smoke originates from fires in the western United States and even some from Canada and is transported in the atmosphere to our area. With otherwise clear skies, the resulting sunsets should resemble the one below from another recent week with smoke over our region.

Charleston, WV sunset from early July 2021

A previous story here from StormTracker 13 talked about why the sky is blue, but many ask why smoke makes a sunset red.

What makes a red sunset?

As the Sun gets lower in the sky, its light is passing through more of the atmosphere to reach you. Even more of the blue light is scattered, allowing the reds and yellows to pass straight through to your eyes.Red sky at sunsetRed Sun at sunset.

Sometimes the whole western sky seems to glow. The sky appears red because small particles of smoke, dust, pollution, or other aerosols also scatter blue light, leaving more purely red and yellow light to go through the atmosphere.

The phenomenon happens anywhere there is smoke or aerosols present in the atmosphere with otherwise clear skies at sunset.

Red sunset from Carteret County, North Carolina in June of 2021

If you have photos of a red sunset or any other interesting weather photos you can always email them to weather@wowktv.com any time.

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