Wed. Nov 29th, 2023
The science and symbolism behind what makes a sunset beautiful

Today’s blog post comes from Sara Moore, a Discovery student at Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park.

Have you ever wondered what makes a sunset so special?

What gives them those beautiful colors?

Understanding science

So how are sunsets created?

Rays of light from the sun have different sizes, called wavelengths, and each with its own color.

sunset over the pierDriftwood Provincial Park. Photo: Ashton Legris

The colors red, orange and yellow have longer wavelengths, so they can travel farther through our atmosphere.

When light rays reach our atmosphere, they encounter molecules. These could be the water molecules in our atmosphere, but may include small dust particles.

These molecules bounce light back and forth, known as scattering.

The longer the wavelength, the more blue light the light beam disperses.

When the sun sets, its light must pass through the thickest part of the atmosphere. This causes more dispersion to occur. As a result, longer wavelengths (red, orange and yellow) are reflected, creating beautiful colors in the sky.

Appreciating the beauty of the sunsets.

In addition to being scientifically fascinating, sunsets are visually pleasing!

One of the most beloved activities in Ontario parks is watching sunsets – watching the beautiful colors mix in the sky, turning the gossamer clouds pink and purple.

But how does this make you feel?

sunset over the lakeDriftwood Provincial Park. Photo: Rebecca Rogge

Experiencing nature has been scientifically proven to benefit our health by reducing our stress and increasing well-being.

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There are many ways to incorporate the experience of nature into your life, and taking the time to admire a sunset is one of them.

The next time you drive home or look out the window and see a sunset, stop and think about how watching that sunset makes you feel.

Understanding symbols

Sunsets can also be quite symbolic.

Normally, our days are busy. Watching a beautiful sunset while driving home or sitting outside with your family is a reminder that the day is over.

But sunsets can also be a symbol of almost anything else! It could represent a new beginning or connect to the memory of a loved one who has passed away.

Sunset over the lakeLake San Pedro Provincial Park

Have you ever thought about what sunsets symbolize to you?

The next time you see a sunset, whether you’re intentionally looking at it or you’ve noticed it while looking out the window, take a moment to stop and reflect.

Think about what makes the sunset look that way, how it makes you feel when you see that sunset, and what that sunset means to you.

Looking for a beautiful sunset in the parks?

Check out this blog for some suggestions.