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Homework Help: Rayleigh scattering causing blue skies

  1. Dec 2, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    The atmopshere allows all the colours of white light except the blue one and instead absorbs it. It is then scattered as blue light. However, I don't get why we would see it as blue. Won't the scattered light overlap all the other colours that were not refracted? So shouldn't the sky appear white?

    2. Relevant equations


    3. The attempt at a solution

    The only reasoning is that the blue light is so much greater that even after overlapping the other unabsorbed colour of light (to make it white) there's still some excess. But this also doesn't make sense as the amount of blue waves will be equal to the other colours as white light enters our atmosphere.

    Thanks for the help!
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 2, 2012 #2


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    Consider the paths taken by by different wavelengths from the sun to your eye. (What colour does the sun appear to be?)
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