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From the photographer: “For the past few weeks, the islands of the Indian Ocean have been entitled to absolutely incredible sunsets and sunrises. The explanation for this phenomenon is linked to the eruption of the Hunga Tonga volcano on January 15th. During its eruption, particles (aerosols, SO2) were projected into the stratosphere. Suddenly, it is these particles that give these incredible colors when the sun is just below the horizon.

But the most surprising remains the appearance of twilight glimmers prematurely (sunrise) or late (sunset). Normally the first light of day is observable towards the end of the nautical twilight phase (during a sunrise). However, since the appearance of these particles in the stratosphere, we have observed these first glimmers even before the start of the “astronomical twilight” phase.
The timelapse highlights the phenomenon.

The explanation is simple. The particles located at more than 20km of altitude receive the radiations of the sun much earlier whereas the sun is still with more than 18° under the horizon line. More than a month after the eruption of Hunga Tonga, the sky of Reunion still shows this exceptional event.”

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