Whenever it's not completely filled with clouds, we can see that the sky is blue. As the sun rises and as it sets, it looks red. These two observations are related, as this experiment will show.
What causes the beam of light from the flashlight to look blue from the side and orange when viewed head on? Light usually travels in straight lines, unless it encounters the edges of some material. When the beam of a flashlight travels through air, we cannot see the beam from the side because the air is uniform and the light from the flashlight travels in a straight line. The same is true when the beam travels through water, as in this experiment. The water is uniform and the beam travels in a straight line. However, if there should be some dust in the air or water, then we can catch a glimpse of the beam where the light is scattered by the edges of the dust particles. When you added milk to the water, you added many tiny particles to the water. Milk contains many tiny particles of protein and fat suspended in water. These particles scatter the light and make the beam of the flashlight visible from the side. Different colors of light are scattered by different amounts. Blue light is scattered much more than orange or red light. Because we see the scattered light from the side of the beam, and blue light is scattered more, the beam appears blue from the side. Because the orange and red light is scattered less, more orange and red light travels in a straight line from the flashlight. When you look directly into the beam of the flashlight, it looks orange or red. What does this experiment have to do with blue sky and orange sunsets? The light you see when you look at the sky is sunlight that is scattered by air molecules and particles of dust in the atmosphere. If there were no scattering, and all of the light travelled straight from the sun to the earth, the sky would look dark as it does at night. The sunlight is scattered by the air molecules in the same way as the light from the flashlight is scattered by particles in milk in this experiment. Looking at the sky is like looking at the flashlight beam from the side: you're looking at scattered light that is blue. When you look at the setting sun, it's like looking directly into the beam from the flashlight: you're seeing the light that isn't scattered, namely orange and red. What causes the sun to appear deep orange or even red at sunset or sunrise? At sunset or sunrise, the sunlight we observe has traveled a longer path through the atmosphere than the sunlight we see at noon. Therefore, there is more scattering, and nearly all of the light direct from the sun is red.