No. 1 – Applause-worthy Sunsets

Have you ever applauded a sunset? Many Oswegonians have.

The sight of the sun dropping just below the shimmering horizon has captivated most who cast their eyes upon it. Sunsets are perhaps Oswego’s most universally loved features.

Photo by Robert J. Clark '78“I will never forget it until the day I die,” Deb Roe ’73 told the late historian and Professor Emerita Dorothy Rogers. “We were all on the west campus on the bluff watching this particularly beautiful sunset.

“When the last bit of sun had sunk below the horizon, one person — God knows who — began to clap and the whole group, a couple of hundred people, stood up and applauded the sunset,” she recalled.

John Gerard ’79 was equally enamored with the sunsets as a meteorology major at the college.

“We’d plan our Friday nights around it,” the chief meteorologist for News 4 WOAI-TV in San Antonio, Texas, said. After spending his 30-plus-year career in such places as Chicago, Toronto and Miami, he counts the Oswego sunsets among the most beautiful.

“My scientific explanation is simply: ‘Gee. Wow,” Gerard said with a laugh. In reality, “it’s a combination of western exposure, the clouds and the fact that you’re far enough north to get away from the haze.”

Jet streaks — bursts of stronger winds in the jet stream that cause high, thin clouds — intensify the array of oranges, reds and purples. Add that to the unobstructed view provided by Lake Ontario, and you’ve got an applause-worthy phenomenon that has captivated generations.

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