Our stunning sunsets: what gives?


The cameras have been clicking more than usual in Queenstown thanks to a recent run of stunning sunsets.

That includes this beautiful shot from Sunday (below).

So what’s going on?

Mountain Scene weather guru Chris Stephenson, who spent 23 years at MetService, says brilliant sunset colours are caused by the scattering of the sun’s rays by small molecules or particles in the atmosphere.

“So from where you are standing as the sun sets the sun’s rays have to pass through more of earth’s atmosphere which results in more scattering and vivid colours.”

Stephenson says on Sunday there was a front approaching the lower South Island which pushed a northwesterly flow onto the region.

“The northwesterly flow may have brought some smoke or dust particles from Australia which may have helped to enhance the scattering affect.”