There is nothing like a sunrise or sunset that can offer absolute suggestions and nail a person in contemplation. Now research tells us that “sunsets are among the most beautiful passing weather phenomena that occur during a day” and that “people find sunrises and sunsets the most beautiful and powerful time of day.”
The same research also claims that while “a clear blue sky can improve mental state” certainly “watching a sunset or sunrise can offer an extra thrill.” Inclusu the portraits in a painting or the images prominently displayed on our technological screensavers. “Awe is generally a difficult feeling to evoke,” said the study’s lead author, Alex Smalley, a doctoral student at the University of Exeter in England. However, “feelings of awe can also improve mood, increase positive emotions, and decrease stress,” the Post notes.
Smalley emphasizes, “When we see something so profound and overwhelming that it nails it, problems seem likely to vanish or at least reduce in their proportion, so in the end we don’t worry so much.” Sunrises and sunsets provide relief, in short.
But not every day offers these spectacles. So what is the best time of year to see a sunset? What makes a sunrise and sunset so vivid? And can we predict them?. For example, what happens in the atmosphere when the sun rises or sets? The answer is that sunlight “follows a short and fairly direct path through the atmosphere to the ground,” but “its position shifts tangentially to the ground and the path from the sun to the ground becomes longer,” and this is where “the various shades of color come into play,” the Post analyzes, as if it were a filter you apply to your camera.
What is the best season for sunsets? According to the paper, “summer is a critical time to see sunsets” because there is an increase in air pollution due to frequent fires. As a result, airborne particles “basically act like so many mini-mirrors, reflecting light back to the sun or definitely blocking it,” while “the best time is during late fall and winter” when the air is cleaner, clearer on cold, windy days. But clouds can also help enhance the effect, “further reflecting sunlight back onto the ground.”
And if you miss the sunsets along with the sunrises, what happens? It is not easy to catch the right moment. Not least because they are “very ephemeral” moments, so much so that even when observed their hues change over minutes if not seconds. So predicting a chilling and unrepeatable sunset is neither easy nor programmable. One must know how to seize the moment-the right one.