Reflections on a perfect winter sunrise in Glasgow

There’s one thing I love about winter, well two things really… I love the snow! But, I also love the intense colours of sunrise and sunset.

Even on the coldest of winter’s days the stunning array of colours in a sunrise provide a heartening warmth as the light reflects on the still waters of the River Clyde in Glasgow. Great city landmarks like the Clyde Arc bridge, the Finnieston Crane and the SSE Hydro frame nature’s morning light show just perfectly!

I got lucky this morning on a stroll along the riverside and caught this brilliant picture. A few minutes earlier or later and it just wouldn’t have been the same!

Winter Sunrise in Glasgow 20th January 2015. Image Credit: Derek Shirlaw

Winter Sunrise in Glasgow 20th January 2015. Image Credit: Derek Shirlaw

These beautiful colours are observed as the white light from the Sun is scattered by the air molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere. At sunrise and sunset, when the path of sunlight through the atmosphere is longer, the blue and green components are removed almost completely leaving the longer wavelength orange and red hues we see at those times. Rayleigh scattering is the term given to the removal of these shorter wavelengths. Mie scattering also occurs – this is the scattering of the light caused by water droplets or other particles in the clouds. A gap in the clouds in this scene has allowed a beam of blue light to punch through as well, which I think adds an extra something to this picture.

Here’s another sunrise from along the River Clyde I took on December 7th, 2013:

The Sun rises over the city of Glasgow on a cold winter's morning. Image by Derek Shirlaw.

The Sun rises over the city of Glasgow on a cold winter’s morning. Image by Derek Shirlaw.

What do you think? I’d like to try capture sunset soon too as the colours can be even more intense. Have you got pictures to share? In my day job at Glasgow City of Science, we’re looking for your #ScienceSnaps from around Glasgow and the West of Scotland. Find out more about how to submit your photos to support what we’re doing.

About Derek Shirlaw

I'm passionate about science communication, social media, and my home country, Scotland. In particular, I have a real interest in astronomy, digital marketing, and the great outdoors.
Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*