Seeing red

Filtered sunlight above the campanile.

A view of the haze-filtered sun during the morning hours on Monday. Photo by Dave Olson.

When you step outside, it's like seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. The air patterns flowing south through the Midwest are bringing lofted smoke from wildfires burning in Canada. That upper air haze acts like a color filter for spectacular photos of the phenomenon.

"The sun emits energy at all colors," said Daryl Herzmann, an assistant scientist in agronomy and coordinator of the Iowa Environmental Mesonet project. "The smoke scatters the blues out of the sunlight and we're left with the red shades. It has to do with the particle sizes."

Herzmann said the conditions will last as long as the air pattern continues to dip south out of Canada. He said the visual effects are not limited to the outdoors.

"When the filtered sunlight is refracted through objects, like windows, you may see some interesting patterns appear within your house as a result," he said.