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A week of colorful sunrises, sunsets

DENVER — You might have noticed the vivid sunrises and sunsets over the past seven days.

I always like to say the shoulder seasons produce the most consistently colorful sunrises and sunsets. It’s the result of a couple important factors.

First, the sun angle is lower during the shoulder seasons (instead of directly overhead), which means it must pass through more of the atmosphere and has a better chance of highlighting the bottom of existing cloud cover.

Second, average wind speeds are higher during the shoulder seasons and that tends to produce more frequent mountain-wave cloudiness across the mountains and Front Range.

Mountain wave clouds are flatter clouds (think of a pancake) and grow horizontal to the ground instead of vertical.

They are like a blank canvas for the rising/setting sun to highlight with the full spectrum of colors.