The new color scheme is neon-eggplant.

The Calbuco eruptions aren't just creating a spectacle in southern Chile, with their lightning-streaked mushroom clouds and reverse-terraforming of the land into an ashen, "gray desert." Thousands of miles away they're showboating in Brazil, too, turning sunsets a weird, neon shade of eggplant.

The volcano erupted last Wednesday after more than four decades of silence. Now the sulfurous aerosols it coughed into the atmosphere are making it to the rest of South America. You can see them smudged all over the continent and ocean in this NASA image from Sunday:

NASA/OMPS

When lofted up high, volcanic particles can mess with the sky's normal palette. Tony Phillips of the stellar site Spaceweather explains more:

Purple is one of the telltale signs of a volcanic sunset. Fine volcanic aerosols in the stratosphere scatter blue light which, when mixed with ordinary sunset red, produces a violet hue. But purple isn't the only thing to look for, says atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. In addition, he advises, sky watchers in Chile and Brazil should "be alert for a very bright yellow twilight arch, fine cloud structure in the arch seen through binoculars, and long diffuse rays and shadows."

Sure enough, Rio de Janeiro's skyline this weekend was backdropped by a color reminiscent of Nicki Minaj's lipstick. These photos were shot by Spaceweather reader Helio C. Vital, who reports the lavender radiance persisted an hour after sundown:

http://omnisciente.tumblr.com/post/117499774150/oxido-de-sulfuro-de-volcan-calbuco-produce

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: A lone tourist in Barcelona, one of several global cities that have seen a massive crash in Airbnb bookings.
    Coronavirus

    Can Airbnb Survive Coronavirus?

    The short-term rental market is reeling from the coronavirus-driven tourism collapse. Can the industry’s dominant player stage a comeback after lockdowns lift?

  2. Illustration: two roommates share a couch with a Covid-19 virus.
    Coronavirus

    For Roommates Under Coronavirus Lockdown, There Are a Lot of New Rules

    Renters in apartments and houses share more than just germs with their roommates: Life under coronavirus lockdown means negotiating new social rules.

  3. A pedestrian wearing a protective face mask walks past a boarded up building in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Governors from coast to coast Friday told Americans not to leave home except for dire circumstances and ordered nonessential business to shut their doors.
    Equity

    The Geography of Coronavirus

    What do we know so far about the types of places that are more susceptible to the spread of Covid-19? In the U.S., density is just the beginning of the story.

  4. photo: South Korean soldiers attempt to disinfect the sidewalks of Seoul's Gagnam district in response to the spread of COVID-19.
    Coronavirus

    Pandemics Are Also an Urban Planning Problem

    Will COVID-19 change how cities are designed? Michele Acuto of the Connected Cities Lab talks about density, urbanization and pandemic preparation.  

  5. photo: a For Rent sign in a window in San Francisco.
    Coronavirus

    Do Landlords Deserve a Coronavirus Bailout, Too?

    Some renters and homeowners are getting financial assistance during the economic disruption from the coronavirus pandemic. What about landlords?

×