Sunrise Layers

Sunrise over Marsh - Bombay Hook NWR, Delaware.

ISO 200

I noticed the horizontal bands, which to me seemed striking since they were so clearly defined, across the surface of the sun. I emailed the NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center and asked what these bands were. Here is their explanation: "The horizontal bands across the sun are caused by inversions in the layers of the atmosphere nearest the ground. Inversions near the ground typically are most marked late at night and on calm nights as the lowest layers cool as a result of contact with the ground. Occasionally, multiple inversions may be present, some of which may be left over from the previous day. Because the relative humidity is greatest just beneath an inversion (where the temperature-dewpoint difference is minimal), that is where haze droplets will be largest and, therefore, most opaque to light (haze droplets are hydroscopic and swell in size with increasing humidity). Similar inversions are present routinely at the top of the afternoon boundary layer. The dark band along the horizon most likely reflects that the atmospheric layer next to the surface is too turbid to allow sunlight to reach you."