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The science behind why Spokane sunsets are so pretty

We may be biased thinking our sunsets are the best, but the weather and climate may actually support our theory.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Why are sunsets in Spokane and the Inland Northwest so beautiful?

That question may not be as subjective as you think. The science behind what makes sunsets beautiful may support Spokane being an ideal location for some of the world's best sunsets!

First, a quick review - as the sun drops towards the horizon each evening, the sky turns from blue to red. And this is because longer wavelengths of sunlight, i.e. red, have an easier time traveling through a wider portion of earth's atmosphere. The shorter wavelengths of blue scatter more.

But there's a very important factor that can determine just how vivid those colors appear. The answer to that is moisture, or lack thereof.

More moisture, or water vapor in the atmosphere will simply just scatter more light, or make the colors look more dull. Even during the day, a humid Midwestern summer sky can almost look white because of the high levels of humidity.

But when the atmosphere is more arid, it's like the sunset is turning up the saturation on those reds, oranges, and pinks on display. For Spokane, that can be a year-round feature.

Smoky and hazy skies can dampen or make the sunset look outright different. Most of us are familiar with a brown-orange sunset during some of the more hazy days in the summer.

Now the mountains and many landmarks can add to the subject value of our beautiful sunset colors, and that is all up to the eyes of the photographer. But you don't have to be a professional to appreciate the beauty that the sunsets of the Inland Northwest have to offer.

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