Thanks for catching that about the weird colors – they were left over from a previous iteration of the writing, and we’ll fix that!
As for the scattering vs refracting, if I understood the Wikipedia article I wouldn’t bothered to have asked
Some other diagrams I’ve seen make it seem like “scattering” is where translucent molecules (namely water vapor) refract blue wavelengths in random directions while ignoring longer wavelengths. Like in this picture, I am led to believe (I think…?) that orange light is pretty much going directly through it while blue light is bouncing around, like a pinball machine, inside the rock and its internal air pockets. The end effect is that it gets crazy unpredictable and produces a diffuse blue glow.
But isn’t that just a whole bunch of refractions, one after another, of a certain wavelength? The picture I have in my head is a spectrum of sunlight hitting billions of tiny molecules in the air, much of which is water… the orange light’s wavelength lets it bypass most of the molecules, but the blue light hits one, then another, then another, then another, etc. until the entire sky is a diffuse blue from all the scattered light.
So does that mean scattering = a bunch of microscopic refractions? Your posts here seem to suggest that, no, they are entirely different phenomena. So then what does “scattering” mean? Are airborne atoms absorbing photos and then re-emitting them as visible light in the blue bands? That makes no sense
As for the prism’s rainbow effect, isn’t that due to sunlight’s wide set of wavelengths and their different refractive indices through glass? If you shoot a laser through a prism, it still gets refracted, but not separated into different wavelengths, no?
What is happening to the light microscopically when it encounters airborne molecules?