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The sunrise is advanced due to atmospheric refraction of sunlight. An observer on the earth sees the sun two minutes before the sun reaches the horizon. A ray of sunlight entering the earth’s atmosphere follows a curved path due to atmospheric refraction before reaching the earth.This happens due to a gradual variation in the refractive index of the atmosphere. For the observer on the earth, the apparent position of the sun is slightly higher than the actual position. Hence, the sun is seen before the sun reaches the horizon.Increased atmospheric refraction of sunlight occurs also at the sunset. In this case, the observer on the earth continues to see the setting sun for two minutes after the sun has dipped below the horizon, thus delaying the sunset.
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