I am a horror author and I have a scene coming up in my new book where I need a red-colored gas (or a gas that would somehow be turned or viewed red when viewed from the ground) to be spilled into the atmosphere. Preferably by a tanker truck.

I need this gas to kind of hang over this small community and of course, not kill anyone. Just an eerie red sky. I looked at sulfur hexafluoride, but I think that is colorless and maybe toxic? Looking for something that would make sense here.

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    $\begingroup$ You'll need quite a number of tanker trucks to paint the sky. $\endgroup$ Mar 17, 2021 at 20:31
  • $\begingroup$ Could you accept in your world that some colorless chemical is mixed with a vibrant pigment at the point of manufacture as a safety precaution (like odorant put into gas lines)? This alleviates the need for a specific compound. I personally haven't worked with a colored gas that didn't have some way of killing you. Colored smoke bombs are the closest thing I can think of, but they are dispersing a powdered pigment. $\endgroup$
    – J. Ari
    Mar 17, 2021 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ How about reversing the blue sky? An exotic top secret non-toxic meta-material is accidentally released, in ultra-fine powder form, and it has the property of scattering red light far more than blue light. So the sky would be locally red and the setting sun blue (or blueish). Colored gases are very uncommon and all of them are toxic to varying degrees. Also, fires can put enough particulates up so the sky goes rather deep red: search red sky pics. $\endgroup$
    – Ed V
    Mar 17, 2021 at 21:17
  • $\begingroup$ hmmm, ok thank you. If ammonium nitrate tanker exploded in my book and created nitrogen dioxide, that would be lethal correct, and not make sense of course to the story? $\endgroup$
    – John Z.
    Mar 17, 2021 at 21:22
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    $\begingroup$ Definitely not nitrogen dioxide or bromine! Forest fires do the job, via smoke and particulate scattering. $\endgroup$
    – Ed V
    Mar 17, 2021 at 21:24


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