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Why does Mars have blue sunsets?

It's all about the dust

  • pia19400-16

    How do you like your sunsets? Well head to Mars if you like the color blue.

    The greater numbers of smaller fine dust in the atmosphere on Mars are more effective at scattering longer wavelengths of light like the color red, which explains why Mars has a reddish looking sky during the daytime. On Earth, our atmosphere scatters blue light better, so we see blue.

    Just like a prism breaks white light into different wavelengths, the atmosphere of a planet breaks up light into different wavelengths.

    Looking near the horizon on Earth where the sun is at sunset or sunrise, the sky near the sun looks red because all the blue wavelengths have been scattered off, with the longer redder wavelengths reaching your eye.

    On Mars, the atmosphere scatters off red wavelengths of light more than blue, so when you look near the Sun on Mars, you see more of the blue light reaching your eye that has not been scattered off.

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