The sun has appeared with a red hue across much of the northern United States this week due to smoke from wildfires on the West Coast and in Canada.The smoke has blown all the way across the continent due to air currents in the upper atmosphere and has even caused an air quality advisory for some areas.
The smoke essentially acts like an Instagram filter for the sky – sunlight naturally interacts with very small particles in the atmosphere and scatters colors in the visible spectrum. With more scattering taking place than usual, red (the color with the longest wavelength) appears more prominently.
Or as Neo would have it in Red sun – The New Neo
It wasn’t just the red color that was odd, although that was the strangest thing. The sun also had a more circular appearance with sharper borders than usual, because there were no rays emanating from it.
It’s an extremely strange feeling to see a phenomenon so unusual affecting something you see nearly every day. It’s not hard to understand how humans of long ago felt that such things were omens of great import.