It's been only a couple of days since the wildfires raged across Pacific Northwest causing widespread devastation, making truckers abandon rigs, and forcing the Governor to declare an emergency. Apart from the concern to do with wildfires, there's also been a lot of curiosity to do with red skies over Oregon.
The photographs and videos that intended to capture the destruction caused by raging fires depict deep-red skies. As the pics and short clips made it to social media, the users were clearly distracted by the red skies rather than the destruction. One user went on to comment, how the wildfires made things look straight apocalyptic. From young students to State Police Department, many shared the images on social media feed, inviting comments and metaphors ranging from, "insane and bloody to apocalyptic and real."
When Indonesian sky turned scarlet
In 2019, forest fires caused the skies over Indonesia's Jambi province to turn red. Several youngsters who captured the images and posted them on social media, later found themselves explaining how the images were real and not filtered.
At the time, meteorology expert and associate professor Koh Tieh Yong, from the Singapore University of Social Sciences, called the phenomenon as Rayleigh scattering.
"In the smoke haze, the most abundant particles are around 1 micrometre in size, but these particles do not change the colour of the light we see. There are also smaller particles, around 0.05 micrometres or less, that don't make up a lot of the haze but are still somewhat more abundant during a haze period but this is enough to give an extra tendency to scatter red light more than blue light," he told BBC.
Australia's wildfires, tainted red too
One doesn't need to jog the memory about Australian wildfires of 2019. That caused record-setting destruction, thick blanket lot of smoke and the resultant red sky. At the time, the scarlet in the sky was likened to a devilish red glow. But science experts have likened the phenomenon down to the simplest case of the smoky haze, left behind by wildfires, changes the way sunlight is scattered in the sky. There are several things the colour red is strongly associated with; from apples and roses to even bloodshot eyes. Similarly, there are several colours the sky is associated with, dark clouds, silver linings to clear blues. Now we know, when the twain meets, it's not usually a good thing.