The rays of the sun are powerful enough to travel 93 million miles to Earth to warm up matter. Yet when a simple cloud passes over the sun, the warmth is significantly reduced. Why does that happen?
The following three are the most recommended answers to the above question on the internet.
So when you feel the sun’s warmth, you’re not feeling heat coming from the sun. You’re instead feeling heat created on your skin by the sun’s light.
Light carries energy. Things with colour, like your skin, absorb light. When they do, the atoms that make them up get ‘excited’. Depending on the atom, and what state its in, a few things can happen. If the atom is part of a molecule that energy can go to work breaking it out of the molecule. If the atom or molecule is on the surface of a solid or liquid, the energy can go towards flinging it off, into the air, turning into a gas.
If there’s not enough energy to do either of those things, then the atom will just release the energy to its surroundings. Most of the time, most of the energy is released as heat. This is what you feel when the sun feels warm. Sometimes the energy can be released as light. This is how glow-in-the-dark things work.
A cloud doesn’t block all the light from the sun, but it does
absorb scatter a lot of it. Think of water droplets in a cloud like a million tiny disco balls. The light that gets through is either too sparce to be noticeable, or high-enough energy that it causes damage instead (ie. UV light).
For all those 93 million miles, the sunlight has had no stuff to interact with. Clouds are very very dense compared to space. A lot of the sunlight interacts with the clouds before it can reach you on the surface, leaving less sunlight to warm you up.
Because thick clouds are misleading, they are very dense and the light that comes from the sun is traveling through space and has nothing to stop it during the eight minutes that takes to get here, clouds however can be like a wall.