Setting The Sun
by: Davis Yancy Clegg
Chances are, if you have made good use of a weekend evening and ventured off with us on one of our sunset tours, you have been most fortunate to witness – firsthand – a pretty impressive spectacle. Yes, so maybe it is a spectacle you have seen a thousand times over. The question is, do you know what it is you are truly seeing? In most cases, those who lack interest haven’t been lucky enough to see the sunset in such a way as you might experience from a river tour along the first coast.
Amelia River Cruises are as to sunsets, as charter boat Captains are to fish. We put you in the perfect position to catch the perfect one you can tell stories about. Sunsets, depending on where your vantage point might be, can be just as unique and breath-taking as anything your eyes will ever have the luxury to endure. Sure, the sunset is quite beautiful from the rocking chair on your front porch. And yes, it can be a nice treat to sit on the beach and watch the smallest star fade to blackness. All things considered – at least from one perspective – there is something overwhelmingly peaceful about watching the sun take its’ bow from out on the blue. You feel somewhat closer to the action when you’re riding along the horizon which the sun will soon set behind. Just like many of the things in life that hold beauty beyond our understanding, we take the sun’s art of setting for granted, all too often. Just like a painter’s oils and canvas, there is a mixture of happenings that must fall into place to bring us the romance of the sun setting along the eastern seaboard.
It almost seems blasphemous to tear down a sunset to its’ scientific “undies,” but that’s the only way we have of understanding the beauty of our planet and what surrounds the big rock we call home. The most apt description of what goes into the making of the spectacle of light and color that appears at dusk each day has been given to us by Stephen Ackerman. Ackerman is a professor of meteorology at the University of Wisconsin’s Madison branch. It has been Professor Ackerman’s determination that the wide array of colors and unique consequence of these solar, optical marvels. They are the result of a phenomenon referred to as “scattering.” Just as if you would place your finger in front of a projector in a classroom to alter what is seen on the screen in front, particles in space – some small and some larger – change the general direction of light rays. This directional change has birthed the astronomical and meteorological term “scattering”. The ways which light scatters to form all the different colors was explained by Ackerman. “Because the sun is low on the horizon, sunlight passes through more air at sunset and sunrise than during the day, when the sun is higher in the sky. More atmosphere means more molecules to scatter the violet and blue light away from your eyes. If the path is long enough, all of the blue and violet light scatters out of your line of sight. The other colors continue on their way to your eyes. This is why sunsets are often yellow, orange, and red.”
No matter what the science behind sunsets has come to be defined as, we all share the same pleasure in the awe of the brilliant spectacle that nature has been so kind to bless us with. A victorious end to any day and well-received part of any twilight river tour, we look forward to sharing many more sunsets with our valued guests!
Family friendly sunset tours will resume March 1. Be one of the first and get your ticket today!