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Tue, 15 Oct 2019
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Strange Skies


Circumhorizontal arc spotted in western New York

Circumhorizontal arc over Lake View, NY
© WIVB/Ray
Circumhorizontal arc over Lake View, NY.
The WIVB newsroom email was filled Saturday with pictures of what looked like a horizontal rainbow.

News 4 meteorologist Stevie Daniels explained that the phenomenon is called a circumhorizontal arc.

"They form when the sun is at least 58 degrees above the horizon. The light from the sun refracts when it hits the ice crystals in the cirrus clouds!" she wrote.


Rare blue auroras seen over Calgary, Alberta

Northern Lights are usually green, sometimes red. Those are the colors we see when oxygen is hit by electrons raining down from space during a geomagnetic storm. On Friday night, however, Harlan Thomas of Calgary, Alberta, witnessed a different color: deep-blue.
Rare blue auroras over Calgary, AB
© Harlan Thomas
"To see these incredible blue pillars was out of this world," says Thomas.

In auroras, blue is a sign of nitrogen. Energetic particles striking ionized molecular nitrogen (N2+) at very high altitudes can produce a blue glow rarely seen during auroral displays. In this case, it was the afterglow of a CME impact.


Scientists confirm ancient Chinese astronomical observations of a supernova

Chinese Astro Calender
The text, dating from 48BCE, recording the glow in a particular spot in the night sky.
Scientists have repeated observations made almost 2070 years ago by Chinese astronomers, confirming one of the earliest ever discoveries of an event occurring beyond the solar system.

In 48BCE, the Chinese sky-watchers recorded a bright glow in a particular part of the night sky.

Now a team of researchers led by astrophysicist Fabian Göttgens from the University of Göttingen in Germany have shown that the observations related to a nova - an explosion of hydrogen on the surface of a star, located in a global cluster known as Messier 22.

The cluster, one of at least 150 thus far identified in the Milky Way, is a tightly packed group of stars located close to the galaxy's centre, some 10,600 light-years from Earth. It is sometimes called the Sagittarius Cluster.


Rare green flash snapped above clouds in California

greenflash sun
© Thom Peck
The Sun setting, but above true horizon due to the hills between us and the Pacific 20 mile away. The incoming marine layer doing some optical aid, I suspect. The green flash was not naked eye, or at least we didnt see it.
Canon t6i at f/13, 1/2000 second 250mm, ISO 200
For seaside photographers, nothing beats a green flash--that sudden pulse of verdant light at sunset as the sun vanishes beneath the ocean waves. Thom Peck of Poway CA was near the Pacific Ocean on May 4th when he captured a green flash. But it didn't come from the ocean waves. It came from the top of a cloud:

This is a rare 'cloud-top' green flash, sometimes seen as the sun's rays graze a distant cloud bank. They are not well understood. Ordinary green flashes require a temperature inversion layer near the sea surface. Similar inversions may sometimes occur at the top of marine stratus clouds.

"The green flash was not naked eye--or at least we didn't see it," says Peck. "But we photographed it easily enough using my Canon T6i digital camera." Photo settings may be found here.

Comment: Rare and yet, apparently, like many unusual phenomena, increasingly common: Also check out SOTT radio's: Behind the Headlines: Earth changes in an electric universe: Is climate change really man-made?


Star in Ursa Major hints at Milky Way's cataclysmic past

Ursa Major
© Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images
An eighteenth century engraving of Ursa Major. Somewhere within the bear lurks a star from outside the galaxy.
Researchers have identified a star in the Milky Way they believe originated from outside the galaxy.

In a paper published in the journal Nature Astronomy, a team led by Qian-Fan Xing from the National Astronomical Observatories at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, China, describes a star dubbed J1124+4535, located in the Milky Way constellation known as Ursa Major, or the Big Dipper.

Interest in the star began following observations made through China's Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fibre Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST), which indicated that the star had an unusually low abundance of magnesium.

Seeking more detail, the researchers switched to the High Dispersion Spectrograph (HDS) on the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii.


Circumhorizontal arc seen over Sylvania, Alabama

Circumhorizontal arc over AL
© Carly S Windsor via Twitter
This is the time of year that some neat things happen in the sky as clouds interact with sunlight! High thin cirrus, altocumulus and daytime heating-driven, puffy, white cumulus clouds made for a cool scene over DeKalb County Wednesday afternoon.

This is a 'fire rainbow' (or the scientific name: circumhorizontal arc - here's one from a year ago on WHNT.com.)


The phenomenon STEVE is not an Aurora after all

© Rocky Raybell
STEVE's mauve ribbon and green "picket fence."
A few years ago aurora chasers kept finding a mauve arc crossing the sky, sometimes accompanied by green stripes. The phenomenon lacked both an explanation and a name, so they dubbed it Steve. But even as their discovery went viral, its origin continued to stump amateurs and professionals alike.

As scientists began to investigate the pinkish celestial ribbon from within, using satellite data, they managed to turn the name into a scientific description: Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement (STEVE). They soon found that the ribbon itself isn't an aurora after all but rather the warm glow from fast-flowing plasma above Earth's atmosphere. These regions appear following frequent space weather squalls called substorms, but still STEVE's origin remained unclear.

Now, Toshi Nishimura (Boston University) and colleagues report on the energy source that fuels STEVE in the Geophysical Research Letters, following an in-depth probe of the regions just outside of Earth's atmosphere.


Adapt 2030 Ice Age Report: ClimateGate, barium rocket tests & crayons on climate charts

aurora experiment
© Frank Olsen via Facebook
Temperature has preceded CO2 concentrations on Earth for the last 450,000 years, but that somehow slipped under the radar, and now revisiting the Climategate emails the Medieval Warm Period was equal to today's temperatures if not warmer. But bogus climate charts are emerging across social media showing otherwise, plus rocket tests in Norway are explained by Jim Lee at Climate Viewer.

Comment: NASA's new aurora experiment colors the sky in Norway

Book 2

A Book Review - Prehistory Decoded

Gobekli Tepe
© Wikipedia Commons
Any follower of Catastrophism the last few years has seen extraordinary confirmations of ancient cataclysm and novel contributions to our way of thinking. To the Tusk, three revelations have characterized the period: The discovery of an extraordinarily youthful late Pleistocene crater in Greenland; a series of popular, comprehensive and unrefuted major journal articles which exquisitely defined hard evidence for the Younger Dryas impact catastrophe; and the singular contribution of Dr. Martin Sweatman, as made in his fabulous book, Prehistory Decoded.

Dr. Sweatman has done our planet and history a tremendous favor by writing Prehistory Decoded. By employing the hard science of probability, he has managed to demystify the world's very earliest and most mysterious art.

Prehistory Decoded begins by documenting Sweatman's initial discovery, reported worldwide in 2015, of an empirical method for decoding the world's first art using pattern matching and statistics. Guess what? The code is a memorial and date stamp for our favorite subject here: the Younger Dryas Catastrophe, and its associated Taurid meteor traumas.

Sweatman has managed to produce a synthesis explanation for the previously indecipherable succession of artistic animal figures at Gobekeli Tepe in Turkey, Chauvet Cave in France, Lascaux Cave in France, and Çatalhöyük in Turkey, among others. Unsurprisingly to the open minded, the ancient artists are communicating using a universally handy and persistent reference set: Stars. Or, more precisely, the appearance of constellations as adjusted over time according earth's precession.

(Don't you love the internet? One hyperlink and no need to explain all that!)

It seems reasonable then to the Tusk that, if there were a code, someone, somewhere, would break the code soon given the global availability and intense interest in the information. In fact, if I waited much longer without someone cracking it, the Tusk may have become convinced the oldest art is simply stunning cave paintings, and heavy carved rocks, with no relevant common narrative (other than horses are pretty, and moving rocks is cool).


'Fire rainbow' seen in sky across San Luis Obispo County, California

Fire rainbow over SLO County, CA
© Bob Bowles
Bob Bowles took this beautiful photograph Monday at Suey Creek Road about five miles east of Nipomo.

"It was a horizontal rainbow, never seen anything like it. It hung out in the sky to the east of us and changed colors for about an hour," he said. "I don't know if we were the only ones that got to enjoy this; didn't hear anything."

At around the same time, Teri Hunter tweeted a similar image of a weird rainbow from Nipomo High School.

Looking at Bowles' photo, I was astonished by its mother-of-pearl-like iridescence; it was almost like looking at the inside of an abalone shell.