Wildfires

Hazy Skies and Impressive Sunsets Expected Over New England This Weekend

Smoke from wildfires out west will color our skies this weekend and may also impact air quality

Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Wildfires out west keep burning and the smoke is traveling across the northern country, winding up in New England this weekend.

Millions of Americans will see hazy skies Friday afternoon by the smoke traveling from one coast to the other. Most of the northern states, stretching from Idaho and up to The Great Lakes, have seen the milk-hazy skies taking over since Thursday, and now it's New England's turn. 

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This smoke is being transferred by upper level winds, so it won’t pose a high risk to the general public Friday. However, air quality may be affected by Sunday. Those who are sensitive may find it best to remain indoors for the time being. 

On the brighter side, sunset lovers will see vivid reddish hues developing at the time. When smoke or dust are present in the upper atmosphere, the colors of the sunset are enhanced and look even deeper as well as somewhat darker at times. Tiny dust particles help to create more scattering of the light, which aids in creating the vibrance in color. Breaking it down: the color with the shortest wavelength is blue, which is absorbed by air molecules and scattered in every direction when the sun is directly overhead, so we see the sky blue. But as the sun sets lower in the sky, the light travels through a longer distance of the atmosphere and it filters out the shorter wavelength, leaving only the longer wavelength colors like orange, pink and red that the human eye is able to capture. 

This haze will continue through Sunday afternoon and head out by the beginning of next week when a frontal boundary slides into the region bringing the chance for showers. 

Meanwhile, if you're seeking to photograph the hazy sunset, approximate Boston sunset times are as follows: 

Friday: 7:04 p.m.

Saturday: 7:02 p.m.

Sunday: 7 p.m.

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