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Purple haze hovering over Hawaii Island

purple colored sky
Source: Hawaii News Now

Honolulu, HAWAII — A vibrant purple haze over the Hamakua Coast was seen by Hawaii Island residents during sunset over the weekend.

Weather experts explain the colorful sky is due to the way light bounces off of atmospheric particles.

The weather that evening was cloudy and the atmosphere was full of water vapor particles, leading to fog production.

Light from the sun around sunset has to travel through different layers of the atmosphere, bending it towards the ground. Longer wavelengths, like red and orange light, disappear first because they are bent towards the ground more than shorter wavelengths. Shorter wavelengths, like blue and violet light, appear longer because they are not refracted towards the surface as much as the longer wavelengths.

This is the same phenomenon that leads to the green flash sometimes visible on the horizon.

The sunlight is also getting scattered out as it approaches your eye. Blue light, in this case, was the main wavelength being removed by the water droplets in the fog, leaving the vibrant violet color.

Purple fog conditions like this are incredibly difficult to predict and are rare.

Weather conditions like this also last for a very short period of time.

Read more at Hawaii News Now