How Light Changes Color Throughout the Day 

By Sharon R. Lee

Have you ever noticed how light changes color throughout the day? From early morning to late at night, the way light appears can change drastically.

But why is that? What causes this phenomenon and what colors of light are seen in the early morning hours? This article will explain why the light of day changes color, as well as what shades of light you might expect to see when you wake up each morning.

The Science Behind Daylight Color Change

To understand why daylight changes color throughout the day, we must first understand a bit about how sunlight works. In order for sunlight to reach our eyes, it must pass through two distinct layers – the Earth’s atmosphere and our own atmosphere.

As it does so, certain wavelengths of sunlight are absorbed by dust particles and other materials in these layers, resulting in what we perceive as color. So when we look up at the sky during different times of day, we’re seeing different combinations of these absorbed wavelengths.

Early Morning Light Tends to Be Blue-Tinted

When it comes to early morning light, most people associate it with a blue tint. This is because during this time period there is often less dust in the air than at other times of day.

Therefore, more blue-tinted wavelength reaches our eyes from sunrise until around 9AM or 10AM local time (depending on your location). During this period you may also notice some red hues in the sky; this is due to low levels of ozone in the atmosphere at those times.

Midday Light Can Appear White or Yellowish

As midday approaches, more dust particles are suspended in the atmosphere which can cause light to appear white or yellowish. This is due to an increased amount of shorter wavelength being scattered by dust particles throughout the atmosphere causing a brightening effect.

Additionally, when looking up at midday sky you may also notice some greens and oranges as well; again this is due to ozone levels and atmospheric particulate content varying from place to place.

Late Afternoon & Evening Light Tends To Be Redder

As evening approaches and darkness begins to set in, light will generally begin to take on a red hue again due to decreased amounts of ozone present in our atmosphere during these hours combined with higher levels of dust particles causing more longer wavelength (red) sunlight rays reaching our eyes than shorter wavelengths (blue/green).

In fact if you look carefully during sunset you may even be able to spot a few hints of purple! It’s also worth noting that moonlight tends towards more blues & purples than daylight does due largely because its source is much farther away than that of daylight (i.e., sun).


As we have seen here today, there are many factors that contribute towards changing daylight colors throughout a single 24 hour period – including atmospheric particulate content & ozone levels – all contributing towards varying degrees & combinations of visible colors that make up what we know as ‘daylight’!

We hope this article has given you some insight into why early morning light tends towards blues & purples while afternoon/evening skies tend towards reddish hues & helped explain why sometimes ‘daylight’ can appear so very different from one time period or geographic location to another! Thanks for reading!

Sharon R. Lee

About the author

Hi There! I'm Lee. Welcome to A Pretty Fix, a home DIY blog about making your home colorful, decorating, and helping colors ideas and fun. Here you'll find ideas, tips, and inspiration to live life more colorfully and beautifully. Hope you stick around!

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