Skip to main content

Why Is the Day Sky Blue? Why Is the Night Sky Black?

  • Chapter
No Wonder You Wonder!
  • 1500 Accesses


On another planet, could the sky be green, red, or purple? After all, sometimes it’s green in spots and stripes on a winter night in the far north around Norway. How would you feel about being assigned to a planet with a totally green daylight sky, if you were a space explorer and were stationed on that planet for a 2-year tour of duty? Why is our blue sky (Fig. 1) black at night (Fig. 2)? (Well, maybe gray if you live in Los Angeles, instead of Santa Fe!) Why is the sky at high altitude black at midday like it was for Felix Baumgartner before he jumped from a height of nearly 40 km? [More recently, Google executive Alan Eustace jumped from 41 km and made his own sonic boom!]

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

USD 16.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 37.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2016 Springer International Publishing Switzerland

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Phipps, C. (2016). Why Is the Day Sky Blue? Why Is the Night Sky Black?. In: No Wonder You Wonder!. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics