Why does the light at sunrise look so different from sunset?


In the evening, everything is all glowing and warm in the summer, but in the morning it feels bluer and less inviting. Why?

In: Physics

When the sun is rising you’re getting indirect, diffuse light which is slowly and steadily increasing, as the sun gets closer to the horizon – going from black to blue. It happens the exact opposite when the sun is setting. Direct light becomes indirect and diffuse, turning from blue to black.

They don’t actually look that different, just mirrored. But that’s enough to make it seem very different. If someone showed you a still picture of dawn twilight and dusk twilight without labels, you wouldn’t be able to tell which was which

Also, there are more particulates in the evening air, after the world has been active all day. Depending on where you live, this can have a very noticeable effect.
Your eyes can be the reason as well, depending on how long you’ve been awake (if your eyes are tired from the day, they perceive a bit differently) and what brightness level they’re currently adjusted to. If you’ve been out in sunshine all day, a sunset will look different than if you’ve been in artificial light or very low light all day.