DR. SKY BLOG

Volcanic ash in atmosphere is adding to the colors of Arizona sunsets

Jan 26, 2022, 2:00 PM
(Pixabay Photo)...
(Pixabay Photo)
(Pixabay Photo)

Arizona is known for some of the most magnificent sunsets in the nation.

The Arizona state flag is one example of the beauty of our sunsets.

Col. Charles Wilfred Harris was part of the Arizona National Guard and back in 1917; he helped to design a flag which has 13 rays of the sun, representing the original 13 colonies of the United States.

The large star on the flag in the color of copper represents the fact that Arizona is the largest producer of copper in the nation.

Our state flag was adopted by the Arizona Legislature back on Feb. 27, 1917.

The seal of Arizona also depicts the bright rays of a rising or setting sun.

We all have great memories of these sunsets in Arizona and a new added bonus may be around the corner!

The recent explosion of the Hunga Tonga submarine volcano is now adding to these great views.

On Jan. 15, a massive undersea volcano exploded with the force of a nuclear weapon and sent a massive cloud of volcanic dust high into the Earth’s stratosphere.

The details of this massive event are seen here.

This massive explosion sent a series of gravity waves around the Earth, with the explosion being heard as far away as Australia and even in Alaska.

With the high levels of dust and particulate matter, not to mention, massive amounts of CO2 into the air, the explosion is now offering up some amazing sunsets!

Here is an example of the beauty of a volcanic sunset.

I have been viewing these types of sunsets for well over 30 years and I can suggest the best time to view and capture the event is some 15 minutes after sunset or possibly 15 minutes before sunrise too.

Here is an in-depth article on the fine dynamics of how these interesting sunsets come about and how best to view them.

On another note of interest, there is another type of event that is visible on just about any clear night with a clear view of the eastern horizon.

If you have ever noticed, just after sunset there is a pink band of light that is brightest at the exact 180-degree position from the setting sun and stretching over a wide area of the eastern sky.

This is known as the Belt of Venus.

This effect can also be seen just before sunrise in the western sky too.

The belt, or cestus, was worn by many women in ancient times, adorned with many items which could induce amorous desire.

Here are the fine details on the Belt of Venus.

So, get out those cameras and phones and enjoy some memorable sunsets and sunrises here in our great state.

To print your own monthly star chart, click here.

To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.

Listen to the Dr. Sky Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday at 3 a.m.

Podcasts are available here.

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Volcanic ash in atmosphere is adding to the colors of Arizona sunsets