Sunset

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Sunset or sundown is the daily disappearance of the Sun below the western half of the horizon, i.e. at an azimuth greater than 180 degrees, as a result of Earth's rotation. The time of sunset is defined in astronomy as the moment when the trailing edge of the Sun's disk disappears below the horizon. The ray path of light from the setting Sun is highly distorted near the horizon because of atmospheric refraction, making the sunset appear to occur when the Sun’s disk is already about one diameter below the horizon. Sunset is distinct from dusk, which is the time at which the sky becomes completely dark, which occurs when the Sun is approximately eighteen degrees below the horizon. The period between sunset and dusk is called twilight. Locations north of the Arctic Circle and south of the Antarctic Circle experience no sunset or sunrise at least one day of the year, when the polar day or the polar night persist continuously for 24 hours. Sunset creates unique atmospheric conditions such as the often intense orange and red colors of the Sun and the surrounding sky.

[edit]Terminology
For the terms "civil twilight" and "astronomical twilight", see Twilight#Definitions Sunset is the point at which the Sun is first completely below the horizon marking the start of twilight. It should not be confused with dusk, which occurs at the end of twilight.

[edit]Historically
The 16th-century astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus was the first to present to the world a detailed and eventually widely accepted mathematical model supporting the premise that the Earth is moving and the Sun actually stays still, despite the impression from our point of view of a moving Sun. [1]

[edit]Occurrence
See also: Analemma

Twilight in San Francisco area

The time of sunset varies throughout the year, and is determined by the viewer's position on Earth, specified by longitude and latitude, and elevation. Small daily changes and noticeable semi-annual

Even on the equator. so the disk appears wider than it is high. but they can be estimated with reasonable accuracy by using theanalemma. daily rotation of the Earth. Likewise. and in the southwest quadrant from the September equinox to the March equinox. In the Northern Hemisphere. since refraction increases as the angle of elevation decreases. because the light from the Sun is refracted as it passes through the Earth's atmosphere. with the earliest sunsets occurring some time before June 21 in winter. it occurs in early December or late November (influenced by the Earth's faster movement near its perihelion. when the polar day or the polar night persist continuously for 24 hours. and not the center. which occurs after the summer solstice. again depending on the viewer's latitude. as seen from temperate latitudes). and the Earth and Moon's paired revolutions around each other. the Sun is almost exactly spherical.[2][3] Neglecting atmospheric refraction and the Sun's non-zero size. Further. again depending on one's southern latitude. During winter and spring. the days get longer and sunsets occur later every day until the day of the latest sunset. Its width is unaltered. For a few weeks surrounding both solstices. Exact calculations of the azimuths of sunset on other dates are complex. the same phenomenon exists in the Southern Hemisphere. both sunrise and sunset get slightly later each day. but rather about two weeks earlier. the earliest sunset does not occur on the winter solstice. an optical illusion. These effects are plotted by an analemma. whenever and wherever sunset occurs. Sunsets occur almost exactly due west on the equinoxes for all viewers on Earth. it is always in the northwest quadrant from the March equinox to the September equinox. and latest sunsets occurring some time after December 21 in summer. the duration of a day time is slightly longer than night time (by about 10 minutes. the latest sunset occurs late in June or in early July. Light from the bottom edge of the Sun's disk is refracted more than light from the top. This raises the apparent position of the bottom edge more than the top. As sunrise and sunset are calculated from the leading and trailing edges of the Sun. Locations north of the Arctic Circle and south of the Antarctic Circle experience no sunset or sunrise at least one day of the year. but not on the summer solstice of June 21. sunrise and sunset shift several minutes back and forth through the year. This date depends on the viewer's latitude (connected with the Earth's slower movement around the aphelion around July 4). which occurs around January 3). Refraction also affects the apparent shape of the Sun when it is very close to the horizon. (In reality.changes in the timing of sunsets are driven by the axial tilt of Earth. [edit]Colors . along with solar noon. similar to the moon illusion.) The Sun also appears larger on the horizon. In the Northern Hemisphere. the Sun is still visible after it is geometrically below the horizon. the planet's movement in its annual elliptical orbit around the Sun. reducing the apparent height of the solar disk. It makes things appear higher in the sky than they really are. but with the respective dates reversed. Likewise.

and also for the daytime halo of white light around the Sun (forward scattering of white light). displaying the separation of orange colors in the direction from the Sun below the Horizon to the observer. tends to mute sunset and sunrise colors. such as blue and green. South Africa.[6][7] The scattering by cloud droplets and other particles with diameters comparable to or larger than the sunlight's wavelengths (> 600 nm) is due to Mie scattering and is not strongly wavelength-dependent. the sky along the horizon has only a dull-reddish appearance.[8][9][10] Sunset colors are typically more brilliant than sunrise colors. scatter more strongly. the blue and green components are removed almost completely leaving the longer wavelength orange and red hues we see at those times. these colors are preferentially removed from the beam.[5] The removal of the shorter wavelengths of light is due to Rayleigh scattering by air molecules and particles much smaller than the wavelength of visible light (less than 50 nm in diameter). can yield beautiful post-sunset colors called afterglows and pre-sunrise glows. The remaining reddened sunlight can then be scattered by cloud droplets and other relatively large particles to light up the horizon red and orange. A number of . trapped within the troposphere. changing the final color of the beam the viewer sees. As a ray of white sunlight travels through the atmosphere to an observer. because the evening air contains more particles than morning air. some of the colors are scattered out of the beam by air molecules and airborne particles. while volcanic ejecta that is instead lofted into the stratosphere (as thin clouds of tiny sulfuric acid droplets).[4][5][7][10] Ash from volcanic eruptions. while the rest of the sky remains mostly blue and sometimes green. Because the shorter wavelength components.Evening Twilight in Knysna. Mie scattering is responsible for the light scattered by clouds. Without Mie scattering at sunset and sunrise. and the blue components scattered from the surrounding sky. when the path through the atmosphere is longer.[4] At sunrise and sunset.

move"). the Sun appears only about two-thirds of the size that it appears in a sunset seen from Earth. from the act of the Sun going behind the horizon. The Polish word for west. sunlight continued to reflect off Martian dust high in the atmosphere. On Mars. InPolish. is derived from the morpheme "ws" – meaning "up". is derived from the words за – meaning "behind".[13] At least some Martian days are capped by a sunset significantly longer and redder than typical on Earth. Sometimes just before sunrise or after sunset a green flash can be seen.[13]One study reported that for up to two hours after twilight. casting a diffuse glow. The English words "orient" and "occident". meaning "behind". запад (zapad).g. the word for east wschód (vskhud). [13] . is similar but with the word "za" at the start.[11] [edit]Names of compass points In some languages. The word "levant". due to the act of the Sun coming up from behind the horizon. respectively.eruptions. to French "(se) lever" meaning "lift" or "rise" (and also to English "elevate"). and "chód" – signifying "move" (from the verb chodzić – meaning "walk. are descended from Latin words meaning "sunrise" and "sunset".[12] because Mars is farther from the Sun than the Earth is. and пад – signifying "fall" (from the verb падать – padat'). is also used to describe the east. Sunsets on other planets appear different because of the differences in the distance of the planet from the Sun. zachód (zakhud). as well as different atmospheric compositions. points of the compass bear names etymologically derived from words for sunrise and sunset. related e. The high altitude clouds serve to reflect strongly reddened sunlight still striking the stratosphere after sunset. In Russian. due to the act of the Sun falling behind the horizon. Although Mars lacks oxygen and nitrogen in theatmosphere. including those of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 and Krakatoa in 1883. meaning "east" and "west". it is covered in red dust frequently hoisted into the atmosphere by fast but thin winds. down to the surface. the word for west. have produced sufficiently high stratospheric sulfuric acid clouds to yield remarkable sunset afterglows (and pre-sunrise glows) around the world. [edit]Planets Sunset on Mars.

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