Skies over parts of UK turn ‘fiery’ red in rare sunset phenomenon

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Britons were able to capture stunning pictures of a fiery red sunset across parts of the UK last night. According to locals, the phenomenon was visible for the second night in a row and was seen across parts of Lancashire. These strange skies were seen on both Sunday and Monday night, leading many Britons to grab their camera to snap a picture of the burnt orange, red, blue and purple as it filled the skies. Britons captured pictures of the red skies were taken from motorway services, back gardens or roads, and even Nottingham Castle. Meanwhile many showed nothing but rolling Lancashire countryside.

In most places, Sunday started as a cold day – but remained dry. Temperatures remained low throughout the day and into the evening, according to local reports.

One twitter user, @govadams shared a picture of the sunset tweeting: “In Lancashire too- Red a sky at Night Shepherd’s delight but looks like it’s on fire “

Meanwhile, use @HimintheNorth said: “Happened to be at Forton Services on the way back from the Lake District when that amazing sky kicked in earlier.”

According to the Met Office, the reason the skies appear red sometimes is because of how the light interacts with the atmosphere as it comes from the Sun.

The light that looks white to us, actually consists of a literal rainbow of different coloured lights, each having differing wavelengths. For example, blue has a short wavelength, while red is created by longer wavelengths.

The Met Office wrote: “At sunrise and sunset, the Sun is very low in the sky, which means that the sunlight we see has travelled through a much thicker amount of atmosphere.

“Because blue light is scattered more strongly by the atmosphere, it tends to be scattered several times and deflected away in other directions before it gets to us.

“This means that there is relatively more yellow and red light left for us to see. The diagram below shows that at midday, light has less atmosphere to travel through.

“Reaching Earth’s atmosphere, it is scattered in all directions, therefore we see blue sunlight. Blue is scattered more than other colours because it travels as shorter, smaller waves.”

However, during sunset, the white sunlight needs to travel a greater distance through the particle-rich atmosphere.

As a result, the shorter wavelength blue light is scattered further, as the sunlight passes over a greater distance, and we see the longer wavelength yellow and red light. These effects are a cause of Rayleigh Scattering.

The Met Office also noted that red skies could also be indicative of weather in the coming days, adding that this phenomenon has been observed for thousands of years.

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They wrote: “The concept of ‘Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight. Red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning’ first appears in the Bible in the book of Matthew.

“It is an old weather saying often used at sunrise and sunset to signify the changing sky and was originally known to help the shepherds prepare for the next day’s weather.

A red sky appears when dust and small particles are trapped in the atmosphere by high pressure. So a red sky at sunset means high pressure is moving in from the west, so therefore the next day will usually be dry and pleasant.

Meanwhile, “Red sky in the morning, shepherds warning” means a red sky appears due to the high-pressure weather system having already moved east meaning the good weather has passed, most likely making way for a wet and windy low-pressure system.

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