Why is the sun and sky such a weird colour?

While the region braces itself for the possible arrival of Storm Ophelia, here in the North West we have been experiencing a hurricane sun.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 16th October 2017, 1:32 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 1:01 pm
The sky above Lancashire earlier today
The sky above Lancashire earlier today

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The unusual occurrence was seen in areas including the north west, midlands and south west on Monday, with a number of people sharing photos and video online of the phenomenon.

Met Office forecaster Grahame Madge said the former hurricane is pulling air and dust up from southern Europe and Africa.

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"It's all connected with Ophelia, on the eastern side of the low pressure system air is coming up in the southern direction," he said.

"Air is being pulled from southern Europe and Africa and that air contains a lot of dust.

"So it's most likely the appearance of sunset at midday is caused by the particles scattering the light and giving the appearance of a red sun.

"It's certainly spectacular at the moment and quite a talking point, we've had a lot of calls about it."

The sky above Lancashire earlier today

The unusual colour of the sky and the redness of the sun today is likely to be due to smoke from wildfires occurring over northern Iberia along with desert dust high up in the atmosphere originating from North Africa.

Some aircraft flying at altitude have reported a smell of burning in the cabin which reinforces this theory.

As ex hurricane Ophelia passes to the west of the UK is it bringing with it air from much further south and this air is not only giving us today’s muggy weather but also bringing dust with it.

This dust scatters the blue light from the sun letting more red light through much as at sunrise or sunset - giving the sky a distinct orange or yellow glow.

The sky above Lancashire earlier today