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Month: April 2024

Blue Skies Above

Blue Skies Above

Big Blue sky (Source: Image by Yves Bernardi from Pixabay).

In certain parts of the world, they are a less common phenomenon than in others. So, for many of us, a blue sky is a treasured gift. Still, when we think about it, the sky is the sky, whether or not it’s filled with clouds. It should make no difference whether it’s thick with a bountiful number of clouds or simply clear and blue. But it does. Why is that do you think?

What Makes the Sky Blue?

When we think of light, the first colour we imagine is white. Although, there’s more to light than meets the eye. Place a prism before the white light and magically it’ll split into a rainbow of colours — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

Prism separating white light into a rainbow of colours (Source: Image by Daniel Roberts from Pixabay).

And each of those colours has a particular wavelength. As you go across the rainbow of colours, wavelengths are at their longest with the colour red whereas, they’re at their shortest with violet. The colours we see are all down to reflection. So, if an object appears a certain colour, it’s that colour it’s reflecting.

The sky is blue because of the different actions of each of those colours when they reach the atmosphere. The atmosphere is comprised of numerous gases and particles which possess charged particles within them (electrons and protons).

The sunlight, an electromagnetic wave, forces those charged particles inside the air molecules to oscillate up and down. As a result, the oscillating charges create electromagnetic radiation similar to the incoming sunlight, although it’s now spread over all directions or scattered.

As we know, blue light possesses shorter wavelengths than the red light. Thus, when the incoming light passes through the air, the blue components oscillate faster than the red components. The faster the oscillation the more the light is scattered, meaning blue will be more scattered than the red. Hence, our eyes see a blue sky.

White clouds (Source: Image by JackieLou DL from Pixabay).

Clouds appear as white because light passing through a cloud interacts with the water droplets which are significantly larger than the air molecules (containing the electrons and protons). The incoming sunlight is scattered by the much larger water droplets, thereby scattering virtually the entire spectrum of light. As a result, it continues to appear white.

Sometimes clouds are more grey and that’s because the scattering of the light isn’t able to reach all parts of the cloud. Hence, they appear more grey. This is especially the case with rain clouds which are greater in size and their foreboding greyness is simply because the scattered light isn’t reaching all parts of the cloud.

Rising Spirits

For most of us, our spirits rise under a blue sky. Think of how exuberant we are awakening to a big blue sky. The additional sun affects us biologically in several ways. The sunlight striking our skin is converted into vitamin D. It’s the vitamin D that plays a central role in the production and activation of serotonin.

Serotonin, located primarily in our digestive systems is a neurotransmitter. These are chemical messengers, the means by which our nervous system communicates with its various components– neurons, nerve cells and the like. Serotonin features in an array of brain and body functions, assisting with our mood, cognition, learning, memory and sleep.

So, it’s not too surprising we get a physical boost by a blue-sky day. Some even feel the deprivation of the sun on cloudy days. Although, this is sometimes linked to our personal thoughts and behaviours, things that would be with us regardless of the weather.

Some do suffer from conditions such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in which our mood alters with seasonal changes. Often, it’s a major depressive disorder that begins with later autumn and resolves with the coming of spring. As opposed to the less serious winter blues, SAD often requires medical treatment.

Seeing Blue

We also benefit from the sky simply being the colour blue and not green or yellow, for instance. Blue carries certain qualities. Blue is generally associated with peaceful and relaxing sentiments. Entering a room coloured blue will be calming, bolstering feelings of security and confidence.

Being blue (Source: Marcel Gross |

The fact it happens to be the colour of the sky and through its reflection, the colour of the rivers, ponds and the sea helps to further the tranquil feelings it evokes. Researchers conducting studies found exposure to blue light had a positive impact on mental health.

Given the sentiments it tends to kindle, marketers also use specific shades of blue. For instance, dark blue arouses feelings of authority, intelligence and power. Hence, it is the colour of choice for particular police uniforms. In contrast, lighter shades of blue bring forth a sense of calmness and relaxation. Marketers will thus make their choices accordingly.

So, taking into account the feelings blue evokes, it’s not surprising we look forward to blue-sky days.

Big Sky Country

Places such as Saskatchewan are often referred to as big sky country. Although, other regions, such as Newfoundland and Labrador may experience days when the term “big sky country” would equally apply.

A big blue sky (Source: Photo by Harold Eggar on Unsplash).

On days such as these, we are often spurred on, brimming with the feeling that the sky’s the limit. Because it’s on days such as these when there doesn’t appear to be a cap on our world and anything’s possible. And if those aren’t the thoughts guiding us, a big sky certainly just makes us feel unbounded.

Last Thoughts

Standing below a blue sky, many of us simply feel elated. For very good reasons do we feel this way. Yet, we can be under a bank of clouds and still feel on top of the world. Blue skies or imposing banks of clouds are all external drivers for how we feel. Ultimately, our sentiments and motivations are of course guided from within. Still, it never hurts to be stirred by a blue sky whispering in our ear that anything’s possible.


Bottaro, Angelica 2024 “What Are Neurotransmitters?”

Color Psychology 2024 “Color Psychology – Discover The Hidden Meaning Behind Colors”

Del Genio, Anthony D. 2003 “Why is the sky blue?” Scientific American

NASA 2024 “Why Is the Sky Blue?”

Salters-Pedneault, Kristalyn 2023 “Serotonin: What It Is, How to Increase It, and Can You Have Too Much?”

Wonderopolis 2024 “Why Is the Sky Blue?”

WorldAtlas 2024 “Why Are Clouds White?”