IYL 2015 Images

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    Red Sunset Moorea-Maiao, Windward Islands, French Polynesia

    Why do sunsets often appear red? The answer has to do with a particular behavior of light: scattering. When sunlight strikes certain atoms and molecules in the Earth's atmosphere, some of the light is absorbed and re-emitted as a light wave in various directions. This means less of it reaches us on the surface. Due to the composition of the planet's atmosphere, the shorter wavelength colors of the rainbow are scattered more. Our Sun gives off light in all colors, but its light is most intense in yellow (which is why it appears yellow when we see it midday). Photos from above the atmosphere show a white sun, so the sun's yellow appearance is the result of scattering. At sunset, the sunlight must pass through more of the Earth's atmosphere and, thus, more of the yellow wavelength is scattered away. This leaves us frequently with a reddish orange sunset to admire.
    Image Credit: J L Spaulding, creative commons license
    view and download image here. http://lightexhibit.org/photoindex.html

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    Fireworks Australia Day, Perth, WA

    How do our eyes detect color? When light rays reflect off of an object, they can enter our eyes through the cornea, the transparent outer cover. From there, the light travels through the pupil (the black circle in the center of the colored part of our eyeballs) and eventually strikes the retina. The retina is a thin layer of tissue at the back of the eye that contains millions of light-sensitive nerve cells called "rods" and "cones". There are three kinds of cones that are each particularly sensitive to red, green, and blue light respectively. All of the nerves in the retina convert light into electrical impulses that ultimately travel to the optic nerve in our brain where an image is produced.
    Image Credit: Colin Legg
    view and download image here. http://lightexhibit.org/photoindex.html

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    Sandstone Mesas With Rainbow

    Sunlight is made up of a mixture of many wavelengths of light. Each visible wavelength is perceived as a different color, with violet having the shortest wavelength, and red the longest. When sunlight enters a raindrop, its path is bent; the light is "refracted". Each wavelength is bent slightly differently, with shorter wavelengths bent more than longer ones. This rainbow is caused by light being refracted (bent) when entering a droplet of water, then reflected inside on the back of the droplet and refracted again when leaving it. This causes the combined colors of sunlight to spread out into the familiar red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet of a rainbow. A person viewing this light from the viewpoint where the light has been reflected is treated to the spectacular view of a rainbow, like the one seen here above the mesas in Utah.
    Image Credit: David Parker/ Science Photo Library
    view and download image here. http://lightexhibit.org/photoindex.html

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    Tatio Geysers, Andes Mountains, Chile


    Image Credit: 2014 © J.M. Lecleire/PNA
    view and download image here. http://lightexhibit.org/photoindex.html

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    Stardust Santa Barbara, California

    Taken from Mount Figueroa outside Santa Barbara, California, this time-lapse photograph reveals the spectacular light from distant stars, the Milky Way galaxy, as well as the setting Sun. The light from these different sources is scattered by the water droplets of the fog that is rolling in from the Pacific Ocean. The density of water molecules in fog causes light to bounce in many directions, making it hard for it to reach an observer and obscuring our view through it.
    Image Credit: Michael Shainblum
    view and download image here. http://lightexhibit.org/photoindex.html