Big Red Sun
April 30, 2003
The Earth's atmosphere acts like a giant lens, refracting the light of the Sun as it begins to set over the distant horizon. The above photo was taken in Nova Scotia, Canada in early March. Light rays travelling from the lower portion of the Sun are passing through many more kilometers of atmosphere than the top portion, giving it a deeper red color and distorting it more than the top half. Differing densities of atmospheric layers, caused by varying temperatures and concentrations of water vapor, dust and other particulates, bend sunlight, which results in the jagged wave-like protrusions seen on this image. It was taken with a 650 mm fl. telescope, fitted with a full aperture white light filter, using a digital camera attached to the eyepiece.