Mon, 16 Oct 2017
Orange Sun seen in sky
Orange Sun seen from Buckinghamshire this lunchtime. Photo: Robin Scagell
People across Britain have seen the Sun turn bright orange or even red. The daylight is also a strongly orange colour. We have even heard of one person fearing that the Apocalypse was upon us!
It is also reminiscent of the cover of astronomer Fred Hoyle's 1957 novel The Black Cloud. In that case, the darkening of the Sun was due to an alien life-form resident within an interstellar cloud that took up residence around the Sun, causing widespread panic and destruction.
But it's actually due to the strong southerly winds caused by storm Ophelia. These are bringing air laden with dust from Portuguese forest fires over the whole UK.
As soon as the wind changes direction, the Sun will return to its normal colour.
Photographing the colour
Some people have said that their photos of the strange lighting effects don't show the colours they can see. This is because most cameras and phones now use 'auto white balance' which takes into account any changes in the overall colour of the light. So they take equally good pictures indoors as outdoors, even though the lighting is completely different. However, this isn't what you want when the scene contains a predominant lighting colour, such as today.
The solution is to use a Daylight colour setting if your camera has manual settings. It's also possible that using the flash will set the camera to its daylight colour setting even when it's on Auto.
Added by: Robin Scagell