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Red October: Readers send in spectacular photos of eerie orange skies in Ipswich and Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 13:15 17 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:10 17 October 2017

The last moments of the sun before it disappeared behind the clouds. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The last moments of the sun before it disappeared behind the clouds. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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The unusual orange and yellow glow whipped up by Storm Ophelia was captured in all its majestic glory by Ipswich Star and East Anglian Daily Times readers this week. Take a look at our montage photo gallery video.

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A mixture of dust brought up from the Sahara desert and debris from wildfires in Portugal and Spain partially blocked out the sun for hours on Monday, creating eerie orange skies across East Anglia, the Midlands, and the South West.

The dust causes the shorter wavelength blue light to be scattered, making the sky appear red, Weatherquest forecaster Jim Bacon explained.

He said: “It is a plume of dust high up in the atmosphere which has travelled north from north Africa. It is largely Saharan dust, and possibly smoke from forest fires in Spain and Portugal mixed in as well.

Ipswich Star readers showcase their photography skills during the red sun phenomenon. Picture: ADAM KIRK Ipswich Star readers showcase their photography skills during the red sun phenomenon. Picture: ADAM KIRK

“The plume has travelled northwards on this very warm southerly airflow.

“What makes the sun red is the way that the sunlight is scattered when it shines through a big gap in the atmosphere. When the sun is straight overhead, it is going straight through the atmosphere. It is a quick transition.

“When the sun is setting and low down, then it the sun is shining through a lot of that layer on the way through to your position in the middle. In other words, the total distance that it shines through, in terms of dust, means more blue light gets scattered and it is only red light which is left along the wavelengths which are left.

“It is a nice example of physics in action. It’s what science does. Everything up there obeys the laws of physics.”

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