The light’s interaction with matter enables scientists to observe greenhouse gases from space, but also creates the shifting blue tones throughout the mountains that hikers travel long distances to admire! The blue shades are created by an effect called Raleigh scattering, where very small atmospheric particles between the viewer (or camera) and the mountains cause the shorter wavelength light from sunlight (the blue tones) to be scattered more strongly, making the mountains appear blue.
Photo by Manon Berger shared on imaggeo.egu.eu.
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