Beautiful sunsets in S'pore could be due to cleaner air during circuit breaker period

Enjoy before the Circuit Breaker period is over.

Sumita Thiagarajan | May 12, 2020, 04:06 PM

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You may have noticed some stunning sunsets in Singapore over the past week.

Social media has also been flooded with posts featuring the beautiful skies.

Here's a collection of posts from Monday (May 11):

Photo by Tan Jia Hwee.


Photo by a Mothership reader

It also seems like this phenomenon has been observed during the past week as well:


Photo by Tanya Ong.

Photo by Tanya Ong.

Clean air is a key ingredient of colourful sunsets

Due to cleaner air in Singapore, as there is less economic and social activity during the circuit breaker period, we might be able to enjoy vivid sunsets.

A meteorologist who has written about the science behind colourful sunsets, Stephen F. Corfidi, explained that clean air is the key ingredient to brightly coloured sunrises and sunsets, National Geographic reported.

You may have heard of the myth that dust and pollution cause colourful skies.

However, in reality, air pollutants in the air, such as smoke, dust, haze, and smog, do not enhance the colours in sunsets, but instead subdue them.

Diving into the science of sunsets

During sunrises and sunsets, the sun's rays of light have to travel the farthest in the day to reach observers on Earth.

While the sun's ray contains various wavelengths of light, the light with shorter wavelengths, such as violet, blue and green, are scattered and less likely to be seen by the observer.

For light with longer wavelengths, such as red, orange and yellow, they have a higher chance of travelling over a longer distance and reaching our eyes.

This is why we see orange, red or yellow hues during sunrises and sunsets.

Thankfully, with most of us now working from home, we have a bit more time to stop and look at the sky.

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Top photo via Tan Jia Hwee, richardntrch/IG