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Weather experiment learning about blue skies

Posted at 5:53 AM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 07:30:51-04

GRAND RAPIDS — We had a gorgeous weekend weather wise! Crystal clear blue skies are beautiful and colorful sunrise and sunsets are even better but how do we get these colors? And why blue? Why not another color? Today’s experiment will answer it all so lets get started!

What you need:
- Flashlight
- 2 liter bottle or large vase
- Milk
- Water

Step 1: Fill the 2 liter bottle or vase ¾ full of water

Step 2: Place the flashlight on one side of the bottle so the light will shine through from the side

Step 3: Add a teaspoon of milk to the water and mix them together

Step 4: Repeat step 3 until the bottle start to take on a blue coloring

The water in this experiment is acting as the atmosphere as if it was perfectly clean with no clouds or pollution of any kind. When you add the milk we are acting to add gas particles into the air like water vapor, co2, dust and pollution. The flashlight then acts as our sun!

Here you have to play around with the angles of the flashlight, but we will start to be able to see a blue tint in the light right where it directly hit the water and milk mixture. We are seeing the light bend, scatter and reflect.

Why blue? Well our atmosphere scatters light and we see blue the most than any other color because it has the shortest and quickest wavelength. Light is not distributed evenly so that allows the blue color to successfully make its way through all those particles when the other colors on the visible spectrum are getting blocked from reaching our eyes.

During sunrises and sunsets we get pretty colors because the sun is at a different angle and gives the chance for more colors of the spectrum to make their way through. Now if you add more milk and we can try to see oranges or yellows.

So there you have it! We answered the 100 year old question of why the sky is blue! Send our meteorologist Candace Monacelli your pictures doing this experiments at home! She will feature future meteorologists on my Facebook page daily!