(WSPA) – Any day you wake up to see the sunrise in the Carolinas, you are certainly likely to see a very beautiful sky.
Ron and Pam certainly love to explore the mountains and catch the sunrise.
“Beautiful. You know, it’s like God’s handiwork. It’s just colors exploding everywhere. It’s gorgeous.”
Other casual hikers such as Kimbo, Megan and Sue love to catch the sunset instead.
“Definitely the color. It’s great. I just like that I’m getting to see it and God created it. And it’s pretty fantastic and amazing.”
While we may take these phenomena for granted, there’s a lot that makes it so beautiful.
Clay Chaney, with the National Weather Service, said one of the biggest contributors to the spectacles is Earth’s tilt.
“With these sunrises and sunsets, it actually depends on that tilt because of course the Earth rotates, does a full rotation every 24 hours.”
We all know that the earth rotates around the sun over the course of the year.
Because of that 23-and-a-half-degree tilt, as our planet reaches different parts in that orbit, we get different amounts of daylight.
“So during the Fall, it just kind of seeps lower and lower into the horizon. And then eventually we just end up at the lowest sun angle.”
That lower angle means the light has to pass through more of the atmosphere. Meaning more molecules are interrupting the way it scatters.
“The more molecules that you have, the more color that you’re actually going to be able to give off.”
Then if you add more particles to the air, you’ll see different colors at sunrise or sunset.
“You have the Canadian wildfires. You have the Saharan dust. They’re actually able to produce a more vibrant color cause it’s eliminating those blue and violet colors.”
Typically to see the best sunrise or sunset, you’ll need to go wherever you can see the most horizon. That means you might need to go up in elevation. One of those places is Caesars Head State Park.
Pam and Ron may have caught sunrise here in the mountains, but they may check out a different venue for the day’s end.
“Sometimes we’ll go to the beach and watch the sunset on the beach. It’s beautiful sunset there. See what nature provides. It’s just unbelievable. So different than just seeing something that’s manmade.”