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It's still mostly thanks to Rayleigh scattering, which doesn't say that it's ALL violet light. The scattered light consists of a lot of violet + a bit less blue + a bit less green + ... + not very much red. If it were all violet, it would look violet. If it were uniform in all wavelengths, it would look white. Because it's a weighted combination biased toward violet, it comes out as a pale blue-white. Simple!

Thanks for that, I can go back to being happy about that explanation again.
I'm guessing the answer to the mirror inversion thing is that your brain always turns everything right side up?

The mirror inversion thing is really simple: Mirrors don't reverse top to bottom or left to right, they reverse FRONT TO BACK. The left-right confusion only arises when you mentally try to compare the person in the mirror with yourself by rotating them into your position.

Edited at 2013-01-22 02:10 pm (UTC)

duh. Of course. Now I feel really stupid. Oh well, I guess it's better to ask than wonder.

It's simple but not stupid, it's a fiendishly subtle fallacy that's embedded in the question itself.

Edited at 2013-01-22 02:17 pm (UTC)

since the main other explanation you hear on the street is totally false ("it's reflecting the sea") I figured the Rayleigh one had to have something going for it.

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