On Thursday evening, parts of Queens were illuminated in an electric blue glow that caused quite the stir on social media, leading many people to speculate whether aliens were visiting. A spokesperson from Con Edison assured us it was more mundane.
The mysterious blue light emanating from an electrical fire in a transformer substation near Rikers Island prison complex and LaGuardia Airport came about due to an electrical short circuit. This caused electrons from nearby atoms to be loosed from their binding sites and combine together, producing this brilliant hue.
Why is the sky blue in New York?
Last Thursday night, New York City was illuminated with an electric blue glow that many attributed to an alien invasion or God sending a sign from heaven. But Con Edison put these speculations to rest by providing details regarding an explosion at one of Queens power plants which caused this bright blue light.
Con Edison spokespersons stated that the fire at Astoria East substation caused an “electrical arc flash,” visible throughout Queens and Manhattan. While no injuries were reported from this short-lived electrical arc flash, LaGuardia Airport went dark for some time while 7 subway line experienced delays, the spokesperson further reported.
At nightfall and sunrise/sunset, sunlight is scattered by molecules in the air and due to shorter wavelengths for violet and blue wavelengths than for other colors, they scatter more. Because we view it as blue during daylight hours, this phenomenon gives rise to sunrise/sunset effects when red/orange hues from the sun reflect into lower clouds forming an entirely different appearance of sky color.
As the sun sets, the atmosphere gradually transforms from blue to purple as red and violet wavelengths are absorbed by atmospheric gases. As these hues reflect in upper clouds, giving the impression of lighter colors than when directly illuminated by sunlight.
Rayleigh scattering, the process responsible for sunsets appearing red rather than purple, also contributes to why skies appear to be blue due to being the primary color our eyes perceive in visible spectrum light. At the National September 11 Museum & Memorial’s tributes for those lost on 9/11 often feature hues of blue to recall that day when hope seemed so clear and abundant in its skies.
Why is the sky blue in Colorado?
New York City was illuminated with an unsettling neon blue glow Thursday evening, sending people reeling as photos and videos were shared online of this strange occurrence. Many speculated alien invasion, but Con Edison soon disproved such speculation with confirmation of a transformer fire at one of their substations in Queens as the source.
As sunlight hits Earth’s atmosphere it is scattered by gases and particles present, with shorter wavelengths such as blue and violet light being scattered more than longer ones, giving our skies their signature blue color. Dust or water molecules can alter this process to turn our skies milky white instead, an effect known as Mie scattering.
The color of the sky varies with elevation. As you climb higher into the atmosphere, light becomes increasingly diffused and appears bluer as more particles scatter it back to Earth. Horizons tend to have darker skies due to more atmosphere passing through while overhead skies tend to be brighter as less atmospheric particles scatter sunlight back onto Earth.
Contrasting with lunar conditions where sun rays don’t reach, Earth’s atmosphere produces bluer skies at night because red and orange wavelengths absorbed by its molecules create long wavelengths which appear as blue hues in the night sky. Oceans, rivers, and lakes also appear blue due to how sunrays interact with surfaces of water such as oceans or lakes.
Last night’s bright blue glow over Manhattan struck at something fundamental about humanity: When our world suddenly changes unexpectedly, our instinctive reaction is to seek comfort in what’s familiar – be it movies, people or food we rely on regularly – especially nature itself which often mesmerizes us so deeply, yet often polluted or destroyed. While this rare occurrence likely won’t reoccur again, it was nevertheless an eye-opener reminding us all how beautiful life can be even in its simplest forms! Hopefully never to occur again but nonetheless it did remind us how beautiful everything really is around us even in seemingly ordinary things and circumstances!
Why is the sky blue in Texas?
Last Thursday night, when New York City’s skyline began emitting a bright blue glow that sent many city residents reeling. Some speculated about alien invasion while others speculated on supernatural phenomena or claimed it as an omen of imminent Apocalypse; yet there was an entirely more mundane cause: an electrical fire at one of Con Edison substations in Queens.
An electrical fire at a power station can trigger an arc flash, heating the air surrounding conductors to produce plasma that travels through the atmosphere and illuminates it with an eerie blue-green hue resembling lightning. This phenomenon has caught many by surprise; most recently in 2011, when several transformers burst during a lightning storm and lit up the sky with this same blue glow.
At this point, sunlight reaches Earth’s atmosphere and gets scattered all directions by gases and dust particles in the air, with shorter wavelengths of blue light being scattered more widely than long wavelengths of red and violet, creating the blue hue we see during the daytime. At nighttime however, darkness falls because the Sun has moved lower in its trajectory so less of its light reaches us on Earth.
Once sunlight reaches the Earth’s surface, its light is reflected off water molecules and clouds to give oceans and seas their blue color; this occurs because their molecules absorb red and orange wavelengths while only allowing blue light through. At nighttime, Moon appears blue because it reflects off Earth’s atmosphere.
There can be various reasons for the sky to appear less blue than expected, such as weather conditions and air pollution. Furthermore, cloud cover and precipitation can change its hue to alter how much light passes through; but if you live somewhere with limited pollution and clear cloud coverage then chances are it will always appear blue!
Why is the sky blue in California?
On Thursday night, residents of Queens were stunned when an unusual blue glow illuminated the sky over New York City, prompting many to turn to social media in search of answers. Their initial reactions ranged from science fiction explanations (the glowing hue might signal a superhero battle or even signify imminent destruction) to something less dramatic: equipment at a Con Edison substation in Astoria had short circuited causing what’s called an electrical arc flash; this event caused gases in the atmosphere to become excited and produce light with different hues.
The blue hue in the sky comes from nitrogen, but other factors may have an effect. Time of day and amount of sunlight hitting the atmosphere have an effect, as do humidity and cloud cover conditions. Air pollution and dust also have an impactful impact upon its appearance – these can alter it further by scattering light in unexpected ways.
Higher in the atmosphere, there are fewer molecules to scatter the light and make the sky appear darker blue at high elevations. Horizons may also appear paler as light from the sun travels further before reaching your eyes.
Finally, when using a prism to view the sky, you will discover that its colors range from yellow and green to violet. Short wavelengths near blue–such as those near violet–get scattered more frequently due to scattering; violet and indigo wavelengths tend to scatter less often and therefore are often undetectable in sky imagery.
All these factors vary greatly from state to state, with areas with less pollution and clear weather likely being more noticeable as far as sky color goes. But as weather and climate continue to change worldwide, its colors should as well.