The science behind spectacular sunrises and sunsets in Northeast Ohio

The science behind spectacular sunrises and sunsets in Northeast Ohio

CLEVELAND, OH -- The seasons, clouds and the angle of the sun all play a very important part in creating a jaw-dropping sunrise or sunset in the Cleveland area.

We've been flooded with some pretty incredible viewer photos lately. (Check out the photos in the comments.)

So, why are some sunrises/sunsets so awe-inspiring? There are a few factors that may play a part, depending on the day.

1. Seasons

While we certainly get our fair share of beautiful weather photos in the summer, many of our winter sunrises/sunsets are just incredible. That's because in the colder months, we're often brushed by cold, dry, and most importantly, clean Canadian air masses. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, that clean air is the "main ingredient" of a brilliant sunrise or sunset. Clean air provides more radiant color.

2. Clouds

Clouds also work to enhance the appearance of the rising and setting sun. Clouds snatch the sun's rays and they reflect them toward the ground. That seems to have been the case with Sunday night's sunset pictured in this story.

This morning's sunrise was also a real stunner. You can thank the high level clouds we've got around this morning.

3. Sun's angle 

In the winter months, the sun hangs closer to the horizon. Sunrises and sunsets last a little, giving you more time to enjoy the view.

I don't know about you but there's nothing quite like grabbing a cup of hot coffee, stepping outside, and enjoying a beautiful sunrise.

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