Science Corner: Why is the sky blue?

Science Corner

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — In today’s Science Corner experiment, learn why the sky is blue using water, milk and a flashlight! Also, see why the sky changes color to red/orange/yellow when the sun sets or rises.

NECESSARY SUPPLIES: 2 liter bottle, water, milk, flashlight

STEPS (see video for visuals):

  1. Fill 2-liter 3/4 of the way full with water
  2. Add a splash of milk, shake bottle, observe color
  3. Add more milk, shake bottle, observe color again
  4. Add more milk, shake bottle, observe color again

EXPLANATION: When sunlight shines through air, it hits different molecules and particles. Those molecules and particles scatter that sunlight and separate it into different colors (similar to how rainbow forms). Blue light scatters the easiest because it travels in short and small wavelengths. Because it scatters so easily and the most, that is the color we see most and is why the sky is blue!

You many wonder why the sky changes color when the sun sets or rises. This is because when the sun angle changes, more scattering takes place. When more scattering happens, more colors become visible such as red, orange and yellow.

In this experiment, the water represents our atmosphere where the milk represents more scattering.

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