Sunrise VS. sunset?

I’ve heard that sunrises are supposed to somehow be distinguishable from sunsets; that is, you can supposedly look at a picture of the sun on the horizon and tell which it is.
I’ve never noticed any real difference, and I don’t see how a sunrise could be qualitively different from a sunset. My best WAGs are:

  1. It’s all a myth
  2. At sunrise, your eyes are more adjusted to darkness, so the light looks different even though it really isn’t.
  3. A sunrise is shining into air that’s cooled all night, a sunset into air that’s been heated all day, so somehow the temperature of the air does make a difference.

I’m so not a morning person, I don’t even know if I’ve seen a sunrise. I have an opinion anyway-- I would think there would be a difference. In the morning, you’re looking at it through a clearer sky – before smog and other pollutants accumulate. Gee, maybe I’ll have to drag my butt out of bed at that ungodly hour sometime and check it out.

I think the temperature makes a big difference between sunrises and sunsets. The colder morning air makes sunrises look significantly different than sunsets.

Another way I check is to see if it looks like the sun is over the Pacific or Atlantic. That helps a lot.

I’ve also never noticed a bright red sunrise. Sunsets to me always seem to have a weird sort of yellow or gray glow to them.

I have the Sycorax Syndrome also, but additionally, there’s a lot of fog in Berkeley. During this La Niña summer there was practically nothing but – mornings and late afternoons, such that the sun never rose nor set, but just dropped in once in awhile to see if Bezerkeley was up to its usual standards of craziness.

Also, though, where I am, the hills to the east don’t divulge the sun until it’s pretty far up there, and when it sets in the west it does it behind trees, but if I went uphill a bit, Id see it set over the ocean or the Marin hills, the former of which, of course, make its setting differ from its rising.

But even given none of the above, Bay Area sunrises and -settings usually aren’t very spectacular, because, when there is no fog, there are generally no clouds either. Ocasionally, though you do get a great Western (Mountain state) sunset. Dunno about the -rises, but I conceive of them as being quite different. I did see one -rise over the White Mountains, from a point in the eastern Sierra Nevada at 11K ft, on a backbacking trip in late August of this year. As I recall, it was rather murky and unspectacular, with no clouds at the time. I think, with prevailing winds from the northwest, cloud effects on -rises and -sets on typical days would appear quite different.


Another factor that makes sunsets more likely to be colorful is human activities. Throughout the day, people kick up a lot of dust and make a lot of smog. All this stuff tends to make sunsets redder. But before sunrises, 95+% of humans are sleeping, and most of the dust and smog settles before dawn.

I’ve seen lots of bright red sunrises (back when I was in high school and had to get up at 6:15 every morning). If there’s any difference, I’d say that sunrises tend to be pinker and sunsets more orange. But I’d be hard pressed to tell the difference just by looking.

I think that, if you go someplace where there is little man-added effect to the sunrise/set, you see little difference. I remember fondly watching sunrises and sunsets in the Sierra Nevada at high altitude, and I can’t recall that either was much different. Same is true in Central Nevada, where there are no people OR sheep.

First, one must answer the question:

“Does the sun really rise in the sky every morning?”

see for more details.

Actually, that topic is so fascinating that it might be worth starting a new topic with it! :slight_smile:

Jacques Kilchoer
Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

No offense to the writer of that site, I hope, but that is one of the most silly examples of ineffective communication I have ever seen. In addition, the ideas involved seem to be pretty poorly thought out, and I am not sure, even from reading what was available, exactly what that author intends to actually prove.

The sun does NOT rise in the sky, it appears to rise in the sky.

I’ll wager that not one person in a thousand can consistently tell a picture of a sunrise from one of a sunset.

Obviously, you aren’t from Los Angeles Nickrz…

DSYoungEsq says:

Them’s fighting words, DSY! To be further illuminated on the question, I urge you to visit this thread. It will all become crystal-clear.