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. a photo of a highway
    Transportation

    Americans Are Spending Billions on Bad Highway Expansions

    PIRG’s annual list of “highway boondoggles” includes nine transportation projects that will cost a total of $25 billion while driving up emissions.

  2. Four young adults exercise in a dark, neon-lit gym.
    Life

    Luxury Gyms Invite You to Work Out, Hang Out, Or Just Work

    With their invite-only policies and coworking spaces, high-end urban gyms aspire to be fitness studio, social club, and office rolled into one.

  3. Transportation

    CityLab University: Induced Demand

    When traffic-clogged highways are expanded, new drivers quickly materialize to fill them. What gives? Here’s how “induced demand” works.

  4. Anthony Bourdain in 2001, when he was still the chef-owner of Les Halles in New York City.
    Life

    Urbanists Could Learn a Lot From Anthony Bourdain

    The work of the acclaimed chef and writer, who has died at 61, provides a model for a truly inclusive urbanism based on the creativity of all human beings.

  5. Maps

    The Squirrel Census Answers a Question You Weren’t Asking

    How many squirrels live in New York City's Central Park? Finding the answer was surprisingly complicated.

×