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Overview         (For age - group : Above 16 )

This educational, animated science topic is useful for understanding the science behind natural phenomenon. Atmospheric refraction takes place due to different optical densities causing the Sun to appear flattened at sunsets. This can be helpful in understanding the relationship between speed of light and flattening of Sun.

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The animation file contains further details in the explanatory notes section on atmospheric refraction phenomenon ---Why stars twinkle and planets do not ? ---Why do we get twlight ? ---Why setting sun appears as a shimmering streak over a river --- lots of other information

Sun appears flattened during sunrise and sunset
Why Sun appears flattened during sunrise and sunset?
atmospheric refraction
This is due to the common phenomenon of atmospheric refraction
Details of the animation/ movie /software

Light traveling through space goes at a much faster speed than light waves passing through very moist air near the surface of the earth. If you watch the sun setting on a very humid, warm day, you'll observe that just as the sun nears the horizon, the previously round disk seems to have a flattened bottom; it is not a perfect circle. The light waves coming from the bottom portion of the sun are refracted by the moisture in the air to create this optical illusion.

Rays from top of sun are also refracted, but not as much because they enter the atmosphere at a less oblique angle. Thus, the top of the sun is also flattened, but not as much as the bottom.

If you are still unclear about the concepts, please refer the animation below.

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