Abstract

A theory for the color of the sky near the horizon for an observer in the umbral region of a total solar eclipse is presented. The model uses a Rayleigh scattering atmosphere, and the light reaching the observer is a beam of singly scattered sunlight, which, in turn, has suffered depletion by scattering in its passage from outside the shadow region. The model predicts both the red color observed in the lowest 8° of the sky for the total solar eclipse of 30 June 1973 and the enriched blue color of the sky at any elevation angle greater than the solar elevation angle. The model is also adapted to explain the reddening of the horizon sky observed during such times as when a dark cloud passes overhead or when the light from a large city is seen from the distance at night.

© 1975 Optical Society of America

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