Friday, January 7, 2011

Valley of the Sunset

The Phoenix metropolitan area is often referred to as The Valley of the Sun.

And while that accurately describes Phoenix based on the percentage of sunshine during daylight hours (86%) and percentage of sunny days per year (fourth highest), I have noticed another way of measuring the sun's presence--sunsets.

I imagine there are several factors (presence of clouds, pollution in the air, and an unob-structed viewing area among others) that go into the making of a spectacular sunset.

More scientifically-sound answers would address Rayleigh scattering, Mie Theory, the Tyndall scatterer, humidity levels, and altitude of the viewing position.

But really.

While science has the explana-tions, they are secondary to the beauty of the vibrant changing colors of a sunset.

It may be that we now have the time to take notice of this daily display of color, but we think that sunsets of the Southwest have been particularly spectacular.

From San Diego (photo #1) to Phoenix (photos #2 and #3) to Deming, NM (photos #4, #5, and #6) to our most recent stop in Las Cruces (#7, #8, and #9), the "Valley of the Sunset" seemed quite lengthy).

I think the presence of clouds determines the beauty of the sunset. Since the three areas identified here will frequently have clear skies, these gorgeous sunsets were valued even more.

At sundown in Las Cruces, a look to the east showed the Organ Mountains with a pale lavender tint to them.

During one of the sunset photography sessions, we were joined by fellow travelers who also commented on the beauty of the Valley of the Sunset.

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