3Sunrises and Sunsets

Undeniable feelings of renewal and hope accompany the sunrise; and comfort and peace with the sunset, Figure 3.1. It is no surprise that so much prize-winning landscape photography is created during these special times. This chapter explains the science behind the phenomena of sunrises and sunsets, and why they appear the way they do.

Consider Earth’s appearance from space, Figure 3.2(a). The half of the earth facing the sun is brightly illuminated and experiences daylight, whereas the half of the earth facing away from the sun is in the earth’s shadow, and experiences night. Sunset or sunrise occurs in the day-to-night ...

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