Monday, October 26, 2015

Sunrise, Sunset

Here in the Napa Valley, where we can go weeks or months without clouds or rain, thunderstorms are such a rare occurrence, they are a media event and sunrise and sunset are magical times of the day.  There is no question we had some exquisite sunsets on the East Coast, but they occurred far less frequently than we see them here, mostly due to the weather.  And unlike here, a colorful sunrise on the East Coast signified bad weather in the offing.  
That old sailor's ditty, "Red sky at night, sailor's delight, red sky at morning, sailors take warning." held true where we lived on the Northeast Coast of Massachusetts. Here, a gorgeous, brilliant colored sunrise usually gives way to bright blue skies with no stormy weather in sight, often to our dismay.

I love to watch the sun rise over the hills behind our house. On a clear sky morning, the colors are amazing and the presence of high thin clouds adds to the magic. 

Sunrise here is also later than on the East Coast, mostly, I think, due to the change in latitude. The closer you are to the Equator, the later the sun rises and the earlier it sets. 

Today, for example, the sun rose at 7:19 AM and will set here at 6:17 PM.  And the sky doesn't begin to brighten well before sunrise the way it does in New England. The sky is dark almost until the sun starts to edge over the horizon and likewise in the evening, when the sun goes down, we don't have the kind of "dusk" that we have in New England. This has taken some getting used to for me.

In contrast, in Boston today, the sun rose at 7:10 AM and will set at 5:46 PM, but both morning twilight and evening dusk are much longer in the northern, eastern city of Boston where the skies were beginning to lighten before 6:30 and will still be light enough for sailors to see the horizon at almost 7 PM.

This morning, the skies are overcast and we had dense fog, although there is no precipitation in the forecast. It was such a contrast to the glorious sunrise I photographed three days ago, which is our "norm". The sky was so grey and the fog was so thick, you couldn't see the hills behind the house.

Now that fall is here, we see more radiation fog,.  As the days shorten and the nights get longer, the air is much cooler for a greater part of the day/night cycle. The land and water surfaces are still warm, much warmer than the air, as they retain the heat from the summer and from the sun. The cool, night time air passing over the warm land and water (we border the Napa RIver delta where it empties into San Pablo Bay) results in fog.

The fog usually burns off by late morning and then the sky is brilliant blue and the temperature rises rapidly.  Currently, it's a cool and somewhat damp 55 degrees but by 3 PM the temperature will have climbed to at least 75 degrees, possibly a bit higher.
Brilliant colors across the eastern sky as the sun rises over the horizon.
Taken two days ago, there was fog hovering over the hills and clouds low in the sky.  When the sun came up over the fog line, it cast a glorious glow on the clouds and the hills.
Sunset, looking west over the Napa River delta at Waters Edge Drive, our favorite place to watch the sun set here in town.
As the sun sinks below the horizon, the colors of the sky become more vivid.
Above and Below:  Looking east during sunset, although the setting sun is not visible from our apartment, the brilliant red of the setting sun is reflected in the clouds all over the sky.


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