Why are we seeing these spectacular sunsets, sunrises? - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Why are we seeing these spectacular sunsets, sunrises?

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Sunset in Rib Mountain, Nov. 27. Photo: Kristina Wachholz Sunset in Rib Mountain, Nov. 27. Photo: Kristina Wachholz
WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) -

Hopefully you've been able to enjoy some of the spectacular sunrises and sunset over the past few days across Northern and Central Wisconsin. Right now is one of the best times of year for colorful ones to occur.

The time of year, what kind of clouds, and where they are in the sky have a big impact on how dull or vibrant the sunset looks.

The best sunsets are usually in the fall and winter because the air is typically cleaner and drier.

In the spring and summer, there is less air circulation so smog and haze can be created more rapidly. These larger particles, including dust and smoke, tend to mute the colors of a sunset or sunrise.

Clouds that are higher in the sky are ideal since they won't block out the sunlight that is coming in from a low angle. As we move into the colder months, more of the clouds that are up high are made up of ice crystals that reflect and refract light more easily, creating the bring pink, red, and orange clouds.

The past few days at sunrise and sunset, we've had different types of cirrus clouds scattered in the sky that have varied in thickness. These clouds are typically made of ice crystals instead of water vapor. We have also had clean, dry air in place, so there haven't been any large air particles around to tone down the colors.

There won't be many clouds in the sky to make the sunset appear more vibrant like last night, but nothing will obstruct it this evening!

Did you capture a gorgeous sunset? Send you photos to weather@waow.com or post them on our Facebook page.

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