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Sat, 17 Nov 2018
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Strange Skies


'22 degree sun halo' seen in the skies of central India

Sun halo over central India
© The Hindu
It is created when the Sun is aligned with ice crystals at a particular angle; phenomenon is region-specific

The people in the district witnessed a bright ring around the sun for few minutes on Monday, a rare optical and atmospheric phenomenon called '22 degree Sun Halo'.

Haronahalli Swamy, a functionary of Shivamogga Amateur Astronomers Association, told The Hindu that the 'Sun Halo,' a circle of light with 22 degree radius, is produced when sun light is refracted in hexagonal suspended ice crystals and super cool water droplets formed in the cirrus clouds. The halo is created when the Sun is aligned with these crystals at a particular angle.

He said that the halo is region-specific. This time, the residents of Shivamogga, Bhadravathi, Tirthahalli and Hosanagar taluks witnessed it from 10.30 a.m. to 11.45 a.m.


Sun halos seen over Oregon's northern coast

Sun halo over Oregon
© Angi Wildt
Sun halos graced the skies above the north Oregon coast earlier today (Monday). Angi Wildt of Seaside took these photos of the esoteric wonder, which is the sibling of the nocturnal moon halo.

Both are the result of high cirrus clouds, ice crystals and a combination of refraction and reflection.

The common wisdom about moon or sun halos is that they are indicative of a coming rain storm or even snow. That's not always so, as today represents. The forecast for the Oregon coast tonight is not for rain but mostly clear skies, but fog after midnight.

According to EarthSky.org, those high clouds contain millions of tiny ice crystals. Like many Oregon coast sky phenomena - such as the Green Flash at Sunset - halos are made by refraction, which means the splitting of light. However here, the ice crystals also cause reflection, where sunlight is sparkling off the crystals.


Supernova that went unnoticed 14 years ago discovered

NGC 1892
Hubble image of the galaxy NGC 1892, in which a supernova from 2004 was recently discovered.
Observing Explosions

Supernovae - some of the brightest phenomena in our universe - are vast explosions thought to mark the destruction of stars in the end stages of their evolution.

The history of supernova observations is long: the first recorded supernova was seen in China in 185 AD! Because supernovae are scarce (there are perhaps 1-3 per century in the Milky Way) and their brightest stages of are short-lived (lasting just a few months), only a handful of supernova were spotted by naked eye through the ages. The invention of the telescope, however, changed this: as technology improved, astronomers became able to observe bright supernovae in galaxies beyond the Milky Way.

Today, around 50,000 supernovae have been observed. The field has been vastly expanded by recent automated sky surveys that methodically hunt for transients. Nonetheless, intrepid individual astronomers still contribute to this scene - as evidenced by the recent discovery by Brazilian amateur astronomer Jorge Stockler de Moraes.


Sun dogs spotted in the skies of northeastern Ohio

Sun dog over OH
© Fox8
Some of our FOX 8 viewers saw a pretty cool sight in the sky on Sunday. A phenomenon known as a 'sun dog' occurred.

According to Cleveland State University research astronomer Jay Reynolds, sun dogs happen when the sun is 22 degrees above the horizon.

For some, it appeared to look like an upside-down rainbow; for others, it was a bright spot.
Sun dog over OH
© Jay Reynolds
Reynolds says sun dogs can happen any time of the year.


Mysterious infrared signal from a neutron star detected by researchers

Mysterious infrared emission
© ESA/N. Tr’Ehnl (Pennsylvania State University)/NASA
A group of researchers recently observed a mysterious infrared emission coming from near a pulsar in NASA's Hubble Space telescope data. This animation depicts one possible source of the emission: a "fallback disk" or a disk that formed from materials of the parent star falling back into the neutron star after a supernova.
Space is filled with bizarre signals that we scramble to put meaning to - and now, researchers have detected yet another mysterious signal. This one emanated from near a neutron star, and for the first time, it's infrared.

So, what's nearby that could have created the weird signal? Scientists have a few ideas.

When a star reaches the end of its life, it typically undergoes a supernova explosion- the star collapses, and if it has enough mass, it will form a black hole. But if the star isn't massive enough, it will form a neutron star.

Neutrons stars are very dense and, as their name suggests, are made up mostly of closely packed neutrons. Neutron stars can also be called "pulsars" if they are highly magnetized and rotate rapidly enough to emit electromagnetic waves, according to Space.com.

Typically, neutron stars emit radio waves or higher-energy waves such as X-rays, according a statement released by NASA yesterday (Sept. 17). But an international group of researchers from Penn State, the University of Arizona and Sabanci University in Turkey observed something interesting in NASA's Hubble Space Telescope data: a long signal of infrared light emitted near a neutron star, the researchers reported yesterday in The Astrophysical Journal.


'Fire rainbow' cloud spotted over Weymouth, England

Fire firebow over Weymouth, England
© Charlotte and David Colohan
Several readers have been in touch with their pictures of a so-called Fire Rainbow which was spotted above Weymouth on Friday.

Vincent Betteridge was holidaying in the area with his wife when he noticed the unusual pattern and colours and managed to get some photos.

He said: "In the late afternoon we headed to the beach for a paddle and an ice cream and we had a few relaxing hours on the sand. At around 5.45pm I happened to glance skywards and noticed a very interesting rainbow-like pattern forming in the sky above. I quickly grabbed my phone and took a few pictures and a bit of video. A bit of Googling later and I believe it's known as a Circumhorizontal arc, or Fire Rainbow."


Rare fire rainbow spotted over southern China's Chongqing City

Fire rainbow over China
© Newsflare
A rare fire rainbow was spotted above southern China's Chongqing City on September 2.

The fire rainbow is a rare phenomenon, also known as a circumhorizontal arc, with the phenomenon only occurring when the sun rises more than 58° above the horizon.


'Rare and remarkable' activity detected on Earth during recent geomagnetic storm

polar light centre



When a geomagnetic storm erupts, most eyes naturally turn to the sky, looking for auroras. But during the surprisingly strong G3-class geomagnetic storm of Aug. 26th, there was action underfoot as well. Probes buried in the ground in Norway detected strong currents of electricity moving through the soil. This chart recording made by Rob Stammes at the Polarlightcenter in Lofoten shows wild swings in current during the storm's peak.

"The currents were remarkably strong," says Stammes, who has been monitoring ground currents outside his Arctic observatory for many years. "During the magnetic storm, voltages surged to 10mv/m or 10v/km. That's about 10 times stronger than normal. These are pretty rare readings without a strong solar flare during solar minimum."

Comment: Our Sun is entering solar minimum and the effects on Earth, above and below, as well on other planets, are becoming clear for all to see: For more, check out SOTT radio's: Behind the Headlines: Earth changes in an electric universe: Is climate change really man-made?


Our changing atmosphere: Stunning iridescent cloud over Mexico, complex solar halo over Russia and a triple rainbow over Norway

iridescent cloud mexico
© VK
In Merida, a cumulonimbus cloud was capped with a rainbow cloud on August 30, 2018.
This giant cumulonimbus cloud is capped by a rainbow was captured forming over the city of Merida in Yucatan, Mexico on August 30, 2018.
Look at this spectacular iridescent pileus cap over a gigantic cumulonimbus in Merida, Mexico on Aug 30th. It's like the cloud is being irradiated from above.

Comment: The strange sights in our skies are likely related to our quieting Sun and the increase in fireball activity (which deposits meteor dust). And these aren't the only signs of the great shifts occurring on our planet:

See also: And check out SOTT radio's: Behind the Headlines: Earth changes in an electric universe: Is climate change really man-made?


Russian astronomer captures multiple rare atmospheric phenomena on video in 1 night - Sprites, elves, airglow and meteors

Russian astronomer captures ALL 'rare' atmospheric phenomena in 1 night - Sprites, elves, airglow, meteors, aurora
Mysterious violet ring appears in the sky over Russia.

Elves are electromagnetic pulses generated by lightning strikes. Elves is an acronym for Emission of Light and Very Low Frequency Perturbations Due to Electromagnetic Pulse Sources. They look like doughnut-shaped flashes that spread laterally up to 186 miles. Atmospheric research indicates the brightness of elves is closely related to the peak current in a return lightning stroke (the movement of charges from the ground to the cloud), and that elves may be the most dominant type of TLEs in the atmosphere.

Elves are very rare and undetermined atmospheric phenomena.

Comment: It wasn't so long ago that atmospheric phenomena such as these were considered a rare occurrence and so to capture just one of these events would have been considered lucky. However, as is the case with the rapid shifts we're seeing on earth below - a serious uptick in powerful earthquakes, epic flooding, gaping fissures, sinkholes, and so on - the same dramatic shifts are being reflected in the skies above: