Wednesday, January 12, 2011

“Red Sky in Morning, Sailor’s Warning”

So, is it true?
Shakespeare actually said it a little differently: 
“Like a red morn that ever yet betokened, 
Wreck to the seaman, tempest to the field, 
Sorrow to the shepherds, woe unto the birds, 
Gusts and foul flaws to herdsmen and to herds.”

These pictures were taken from my back porch in the early morning of the week of Winter Solstice. They are in order of their occurrence. This sunrise was one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. It came and was over within fifteen minutes. The entire eastern sky was afire crossing over onto the western skies in more subtle shades of pink. It was a glorious sight to behold!

Red sky in morning, sailor’s warning.

Weather lore has been around since people needed to predict the weather and plan their activities. Sailors and farmers relied on it to navigate ships and plant crops. 

But can weather lore truly predict the weather or seasons?

Weather lore concerning the appearance of the sky, the conditions of the atmosphere, the type or movement of the clouds, and the direction of the winds may have a scientific basis and likely can predict the weather.

The colors we see in the sky are due to the rays of sunlight being split into colors of the spectrum as they pass through the atmosphere and ricochet off the water vapor and particles in the atmosphere. The amounts of water vapor and dust particles in the atmosphere are good indicators of weather conditions. They also determine which colors we will see in the sky.

During sunrise and sunset the sun is low in the sky, and it transmits light through the thickest part of the atmosphere. A red sky suggests an atmosphere loaded with dust and moisture particles. We see the red, because red wavelengths (the longest in the color spectrum) are breaking through the atmosphere. The shorter wavelengths, such as blue, are scattered and broken up.

A red sunrise reflects the dust particles of a system that has just passed from the west. This indicates that a storm system may be moving to the east. If the morning sky is a deep fiery red, it means a high water content in the atmosphere. So, rain is on its way.

And... she's up!

Good morning, world.

The information for this post was gathered from Fun Science Facts from the Library of Congress.


  1. Really intresting and beautyful pictures. Have a nice day/Gela

  2. my blotanical picture is of my red sky on New Year's morning....I firmly believe that a red sky will bring a storm...and on New year's we had one but thankfully not too bad....these are breathtaking pictures that make one so grateful to wake in the morning and energize you for the day

  3. I remember my mother used to say, "Red sky at night, sailor's delight, red sky in the morning, sailors take warning." I loved your post. So beautiful! It really is the best part of waking up early.

  4. Really a beautiful series of images. I love those red skies. Withe the yellow, it really looks like fire.

  5. I remember that sunrise and got some pictures too. Thanks for wonderful information

  6. I have heard this explanation before but never accompanied by such beautiful photographs. In Maine in the summer, we are on boats a lot and really need to pay attention to the weather. Red sky at night, sailor's delight, Red sky in the morning, sailor's take warning really works.

  7. What amazing photographs! I don't think I have ever seen such a red sunrise! Such beauty you witnessed and what an incredible way to start the morning. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Gorgeous photos! I love how the tree branches stand against the sunrise, especially in the first shot. I have to ask, did you have a storm that day?

  9. Stunning photos. I'm a sucker for all this weather lore, what can I say.

  10. I love your sunrise too. My post is just as red but we often get those red skies during sunsets than sunrise. Maybe our sunrise is cleaner than the west, of course we have a vast Pacific Ocean in our east, while on our west are inhabited land masses including the polluters of the world, haha!

    I am fascinated to post sunrise and sunsets too, but mostly i do it on FB, today i did it here for Skywatch. BTW, Meredehuit, i am still wondering why horizon partitions in Europe are always distinct in contrast with ours, where we normally get blurred, as if sea and sky already mixed.

  11. What a beautiful sunrise! My mom used to say "red sun in the morning, sailor's warning" too. Followed closely by "Large halo 'round the moon, heavy rains very soon"
    Its fun to learn the science behind these old sayings though - great post.

  12. Hi. Thanks for visiting my blog. I'm glad to have called by yours! The wonderful photos of all that snow and the dazzling sunrises are ample evidence of the difference between Utah and our little apartment in Paris!

  13. Have you heard of Skywatch Friday? Your pictures would fit right in :-) I have a link on my latest blog post. Your pictures are spectacular. I can't imagine how much more breathtaking they would be in person on a quiet winter morning :-)


Welcome to my gardens!
Your comments are the sweet nectar that keeps me posting.
So glad you stopped by!