We often forget that we are living on a spinning ball of rock that is orbiting a star, but taking the time to slow down and watch a sunset can be just the reminder we need, and give us a serious dose of awe. This remarkable phenomenon happens every day in every place…and it’s free! I hope you will try some of the following activities with your family and friends to make your sunsets even more special.
P.S. All of this goes for sunrises, too. I just prefer sunsets because I like to sleep in!
Make it an Event
Plan a time to watch a sunset together, kind of like a movie night (you might even pop some popcorn!). You can easily find sunrise and sunset times for your location using apps and websites….or just ask Siri or Alexa. Find a place, without a lot of trees or buildings, where there is a clear view of the western sky. Set chairs out or stretch out a blanket on the ground. Discuss what colors you see, how the temperature changes, how watching the sunset together makes you feel. Share your ideas and wonderings about what is happening. Take photographs of the sunset with your silhouettes and of your super tall shadows. Think about the fact that at that moment your place on Earth is turning away from our beautiful star into the darkness of space, and how in those few minutes that you watch the Sun slowly go out of sight, you can sense the Earth turning. Warning – goosebumps may occur!
It’s fun to think about the people on the other side of the planet who are seeing a sunrise while you are watching a sunset. When my husband was on a work trip in Singapore, he sent me a photo of a sunset. When I received that text, I was standing in our kitchen and I looked out to see a sunrise in our backyard. I showed my son the sunset photos and explained that as daddy was ending his day, we were just starting ours. After that, when my husband would call from Singapore, our son would say, “It’s daddy, calling from the future!”, which made us all laugh. If you have a globe at home, you can look for the places directly opposite your location that are seeing a sunrise while you are watching a sunset, and vice versa. You might point out the International Date Line, where one day turns into the next, and discuss why this imaginary line is drawn through the Pacific Ocean and not smack dab in the middle of a country.
Find a “Sunset Spot”
My sister and brother-in-law have a “sunset spot” where they walk their dogs almost every day at sunset. They know how much I love sunsets, and send me photos from this same pier on a regular basis. The location is the same, but each evening the show is different. The great thing about visiting the same “sunset spot” over and over again is not only are you witnessing the ever-changing beauty of the sky at dusk, you are making memories with special people (and in their case, canines) in a special place.
Watch a Sunset from the Space Station
Astronauts on the International Space Station can see a sunset every 90 minutes! You can see a sunset from the ISS, too, by watching the video of astronaut Mark T. Vande Hei reading my book, Next Time You See a Sunset, on the ISS. The end of the video includes a sunset from the ISS as well as a blue sunset on Mars recorded by the Opportunity Rover. Check out the other fabulous videos of astronauts reading children’s books at storytimefromspace.com!
Share Your Sunset
I would love to see your sunset photos! Post them on my “Next Time You See” Facebook page: www.facebook.com/EmilyMorganBooks or on Twitter #shareyoursunset with your city, state, and country listed.
I hope that you and your family will try some of these activities and that you feel a sense of wonder the next time you see a sunset.
Emily Morgan is the author of Next Time You See a Sunset, as well as other books from the Next Time You See series from NSTA Press.