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The setting is science-fantasy, so there are some unnatural features that dictate the properties of the setting, but I'd rather not rely on it.

So basically this planet is very similar to our own, but with humans and life adapted to somewhat different conditions. The major difference is essentially how the sun shines.

It has a 24 hour day and night cycle. The sun moves through the sky like our. But the 'day' by our sensibilities resembles twilight and dusk on our own world. At midday, it kind of resembles the golden hour.

The white sunlight and bright blue skies we know of is pretty much alien here.

What is the reason for this?

Edit: Apologies for being unclear. When I say resembles twilight/dusk. I don't mean literally in the sense the sun always sticks to the horizon. I mean the sun moves like our own, but the light it gives off resembles our own sun during the periods of dusk/twilight.

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    $\begingroup$ Why have the obvious candidates not worked for you? Dimmer sun. Thicker atmosphere. Outer edge of goldilocks zone. Contaminated atmospheric levels. Constant clouds (high percentage water world with shallow oceans). Etc. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 4:47
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH They do work for the most part. I was merely clarifying details since it felt like posters were misinterpreting some of the details. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 17:22

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The star can be a red dwarf. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_dwarf

It may produce a similar amount of total energy as the Sun but emit significantly more in the infrared part of the spectrum. Red dwarfs are smaller and cooler than the Sun, with surface temperatures around 2380 to 3850 Kelvin. Due to their cooler temperatures, they emit more of their energy as infrared light, making them appear much dimmer in the visible part of the spectrum.

You can keep Earth atmosphere.

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Atmosphere

The best explanation for this would be a very thick atmosphere with a slightly different composition. Sunsets occur because more air is between our eyes and the sun which causes the spectrum of light to change. If the atmosphere also has some permanent clouds to bring the brightness of the light lower, I think you will have the effect you are looking for.

Answer before clarification

Rotating to face the sun

The orbit and rotation of this planet could provide the needed conditions, but only if there is something abnormal about it. I think any normal rotation could not produce these conditions, but if one side of the planet rotates to face the sun this could be possible.

Similar to how the Moon is tidally locked to the Earth, this planet would have a near side to the sun and a dark side. However, the planet must also spin on another axis to have days and nights. This axis cannot be perpendicular to the sun as that would also not create a day-night cycle, but if it was slightly away from that I believe this would result in the days you want. Something pulling one side of your planet to the sun (likely some form of tidal locking) would be a possibility to keep this realistic because the planet can only spin on one axis.

In order to stop people from living on the bright side of the planet, the sun needs to be stronger. For the areas between the light and dark sides of the planet, a possibility is that people developed on the dark side of the planet and are not suited well for that environment.

This is roughly the same idea that I have.

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  • $\begingroup$ To clarify, the sun does pass through the sky like our own. When I it resembles twilight/dusk, I mean more in the sense that even when high in the sky, it resembles our own sun during these periods and never becomes bright white. Thus resulting in the twilight/dusk appearance until night comes. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 1:46
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Welcome to WorldBuilding StackExchange!

If I understand the scenario correctly, there is a world where:

  • Brightest time in Day -> Twilight/Dusk
  • Midday -> Looks like golden hour

Some ideas:

Internal Clocks are not centered around sunlight

Organisms tend to use the sun as a metric to count the time and differentiate between day and night. If there is another factor that many organisms are reliant on, i.e. another significant source of energy, organisms might change their schedules to match that resource instead.

On Earth, some extremophiles are reliant on chemical energy to provide for themselves and other organisms, notably at the bottom of the ocean, might not use the sun as a metric of time.

Light Delay / Atmospheric Reason

Due to the atmosphere or any other spatial obstacle between the world and its local star, there could be some factor resulting in the delay of light to the world, making the sun appear at an earlier time.

Likewise, the color of the sky is caused by Rayleigh scattering, the process by which sunlight reacts with molecules in the atmosphere. Should the atmosphere be composed of a different molecule, the reaction could be different, resulting in different colors, I'd imagine.

Caveats

The largest problem is that with a sun schedule altered, most likely we would just shift our clocks to match the new sunlight schedule, waking up when it's brighter outside and sleeping when it's darker outside; organisms would follow suit.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. Though to clarify isn't midday the brightest part of the day? The idea I had was more brightest time == golden hours. Every before and after that == twilight/dusk. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 1:35
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    $\begingroup$ It wouldn't matter how long it takes the light to get there in terms of day length and brightness of day. For example, there's a delay of 8 minutes for sunlight to reach us, but the times of sunrise and sunset simply take that into account. You could decide to call solar noon 1:30 p.m. if you want (which is daylight saving time) but that's not what OP is looking for $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 10:44
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Oblique axis of planetary rotation.

The effect of "twighlight / dusk /magic hour" on earth is basically completely due to the angle at which the sun hits the atmosphere.

Due to earth's axial tilt, these effects are magnified massively at extreme lattitudes - if you've ever spent some time north of the arctic circle in Autumn, this is why the light felt "weird." If you haven't, put it on your bucket list.

If you wanted that to be a permanent or near permanent feature of your planet, all you have to do is have an extremely oblique angle on the axis of rotation - at a steep enough angle, the majority of the planet would have extremely 'eerie' light for the majority of the day.

The "summer" for the polar regions would have somewhat normal light with a sun that never set though, and during a given hemisphere's summer, the light would be notably less weird at more extreme lattitudes - but due to the extreme variations in seasonal weather you'd get, it'd make a lot of sense for any visitors to this planet to hang out entirely around the equator, where the effect you're going for would be most pronounced.

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