Early risers were treated to a spectacular sunrise across England on Thursday morning, with skies turning shades of purple, pink and lilac.

BBC Weather Watchers sent in vivid images from the North Yorkshire coastline all the way down to Dorset capturing the unusual weather conditions.

BBC Weather presenter Sarah Keith-Lucas said one explanation for the colours could be recent “low pressure systems moving in from the Atlantic”.

She said they caused “rapidly rising air over the sea, which can lead to more salt molecules in the atmosphere”, leading to the light being scattered more prolifically and creating “more vibrant pink and purple colours during sunrise and sunset”.

Why skies change in colour – Sarah Keith-Lucas, BBC Weather

The colour of the sky is determined by the scattering of the sun’s light rays as they pass through our atmosphere.

Shorter wavelengths of blue and indigo are easily scattered, but longer wavelengths of orange and red are not so easily scattered and hence pass through to our eyes, meaning the sky often appears red, pink or orange at sunrise and sunset.

The exact colours of a sunrise rely on factors such as dust, pollution, water droplets and cloud formations, and occasionally they appear more purple and pink rather than the more common orange and reds.

This can be in part, the optical illusion of the pink wavelengths lighting up the base of the cloud (due to the low angle of the sun’s rays), and these pink clouds superimposed on a dark blue sky.

The combination of pink and dark blue can make the sky appear a deep purple.



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