Blue skies. Gray skies. Those are the colors we most commonly associate with our atmosphere. On Wednesday, things went wonky for the San Francisco Bay Area when the skies turned a freaky, disorienting shade of orange that made morning and afternoon seem like night.
While it looked like the apocalypse had arrived, the National Weather Service offered a scientific explanation for the phenomenon. The NWS Bay Area office tweeted a satellite image of a thick layer of smoke over California and wrote, "This smoke is filtering the incoming energy from the sun, causing much cooler temperatures and dark, dreary red-shifted skies across many areas."
NASA went into more detail on this type of occurrence while explaining red-tinted sunsets triggered by Siberian fires back in 2015. "The smoke particles from the fires allow sunlight's longer wavelength colors like red and orange to get through while blocking the shorter wavelengths of yellow, blue and green," the space agency said.