As the sun sets on summer our question of the day is: Do Sunrises look different from sunsets? Today we'll see fireworks as the sun sets on summer. What about tomorrow?
Natalie Wolchover writes: "You've woken up out of a coma. You yank the IV from your arm and stumble out of the hospital. The sun is perched on the horizon. Can you tell whether it's rising or setting?
Contemplating this scenario while gazing sunward at dusk or dawn, we might feel as if we could sense the difference between the two times of day. But in real life, it's impossible to completely divorce our perceptions of the scene from our awareness of the hour. So, is there any objective way to distinguish an upward-trending sun from a downward one?
According to atmospheric physicists David Lynch and William Livingston, the answer is "yes, and no."
The first is in our heads. "At sunset, our eyes are daylight adapted and may even be a bit weary from the day's toil," Lynch and Livingston write. "As the light fades, we cannot adapt as fast as the sky darkens. Some hues may be lost or perceived in a manner peculiar to sunset. At sunrise, however, the night's darkness has left us with very acute night vision and every faint, minor change in the sky's color is evident." In short, you may perceive more colors at dawn than at dusk. [Red-Green & Blue-Yellow: The Stunning Colors You Can't See]"