Maybe we can blame the Russians for Colorado's purple sunsets.

Not that purple sunsets are a bad thing, but there may be a specific reason for an increase in purple sunrises and sunsets in Colorado this summer. The reason may be connected to a Russian volcano thousand of miles away.

Using high-altitude balloons to detect particles from the eruption of the volcano Raikoke, researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have collected new measurements that help reveal the cause of Colorado's unusually colorful skies.

The volcano, off the eastern coast of Russia, erupted on June 22. Particles from the eruption scatter sunlight and combine with the absorption of light by the ozone layer to create a purple tint in sunrises and sunsets.

A similar phenomenon was observed back in 1991 when Mount Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines.

The purple effect doesn't happen all the time and it won't last for long. You need the right weather conditions and a little luck to spot it.

The fact is, when it comes to beautiful sunsets, Colorado doesn't need any help. But a little extra color sure won't hurt -- even if it does come from Russia.

[COLORADO.EDU]