The Reason Why The Sky is Red at Night When It’s Going to Rain


Last Updated on 2023-06-22 , 11:48 am

In the tropical corners of the world, such as Malaysia and Singapore, we may jest about having four distinct seasons. Instead of the usual quartet of spring, summer, autumn, and winter that many parts of the world experience, ours are quite different, a colorful cocktail of rainy, sunny, cloudy, and hazy seasons.

Our adaptation to this unique weather pattern has grown so much that we sometimes play the role of amateur meteorologists, placing educated guesses about the next day’s forecast with surprising accuracy.

Why is the Sky Red at Night when it Rains: A Curious Prediction

One specific phenomenon that stirs our interest is the reddening of the sky late in the evening or at night. Often, this red sky is a precursor to a nocturnal rain shower. There’s always that one individual who makes this prediction, or perhaps, it’s even you.

You might be wondering, is this a mere myth, an old grandmother’s tale, or is there scientific grounding to this curious spectacle? Let’s dive into the captivating explanation of why the sky is red at night.

A Scientific Exploration

The process might seem intricate, so buckle up for a fascinating journey into atmospheric science.

Our red skies emerge from the complex dance of light and its interaction with the atmosphere.


During daylight hours, we’re accustomed to seeing foreboding dark clouds signal an imminent rainstorm, but at night, high clouds are masked by the enveloping darkness.

However, thanks to the advent of modern cities, there’s a new light source in play when pondering, why is the sky orange when it rains.

The Role of City Lights

Our cities blaze with lights, casting a vibrant glow that amplifies when reflected off low clouds in the sky.

These clouds, hovering only a few hundred feet above ground, act as a canvas for the city’s radiance, illuminating the night sky.


This gives us a chance to perceive these low-lying clouds against the darkened heavens.

But you might still be wondering, “Why red?”

Why is the Sky Orange at Night when it Rains

The color of our sky is dictated by the city lights’ reflection, but why does it appear red or orange when there’s no distinct red hue in our cityscape’s illumination?

A fascinating theory postulates that this color change occurs because the blue and indigo components of light are diminished during reflection and their journey through the atmosphere.

This reduction leaves the orange and red components behind, leading to the question, why is the sky red during a storm at night.

Painting the Sky Red

Indeed, most of our street lights emit a warm orange glow. When this light bounces off the rain clouds and back to our eyes, we perceive the sky as predominantly red or orange.

However, when the rain begins in earnest, the intensity of this reddish hue decreases, and the reflected light becomes less apparent.

To simplify this captivating phenomenon, the red sky isn’t a sign of the sky’s anger or frustration. Rather, it’s a stunning display of city lights reflected off the evening clouds.

Who would have thought that our tropical seasons, filled with rain and city lights, would serve us such a fascinating, nightly spectacle? Isn’t that simply enthralling?

There you have it, a comprehensive answer to the intriguing question: why is the sky red at night.


Image: Rebeccakarenza /

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