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Yes, the sky really is ‘bluer’ in the fall

The sky takes on an extra-blue hue in the fall, because of low humidity and an increased amount of Rayleigh scattering.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Look up! Really, if you haven't taken a good look at the sky lately, you're missing out on the exceptional blue hue enveloping the atmosphere.

Ocean blue, cerulean blue, whatever you want to call it -- the sky is so blue lately, it prompted a viewer to ask a great question.


Kathy from Greensboro asked, "Is it true the sky is bluer in the fall than in the summer?"



This is true.

It's true -- the sky appears bluer in the fall than in the summer because of low humidity and low sun position, making it easier for blue light to scatter. 


Meteorologist Christian Morgan explained in the summer, the sky doesn't appear as clearly blue, because of moisture and light scattering.

"All of that water vapor continues to help scatter the sunlight," he said.

The atmosphere can't retain as much moisture in the fall, so it has a harder time scattering light evenly.

Morgan cited a phenomenon called Rayleigh Scattering. He explained when the sun is farther from earth and lower in the sky, like in the fall, the light has to travel farther than it does in the summer. The light colors with short wavelengths, including blue, scatter the easiest. So, the sky gives off the appearance of a pure blue color.

Whether you call it 'Carolina Blue' or 'Duke Blue,' enjoy it while it lasts -- before winter precipitation turns this beautiful hue into a dreary haze of gray.

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