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Fri, 17 Aug 2018
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Strange Skies

Magnet

Rare U.S. Auroras and lightning visible side by side

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A solar wind stream hit Earth's magnetic field during the late hours of June 7th, sparking a G2-class geomagnetic storm. In the United States, surprised sky watchers from Maine to Washington witnessed a rare display of summer auroras. Outside of Rochester, Minnesota, photographer Marcella Chester recorded the green glow alongside a June thunderstorm:

"I've never seen auroras and lightning visible side by side before," marvels Chester. "These photos were taken between 2 and 3 am on Monday, June 8th."

At about the same time in Hartford, Wisconsin, Jake Stehli witnessed a similar display. "The auroras were visible to the naked eye with lightning in a thunderhead on the horizon as well," he says.
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© Jake Stehli
Researchers have long known that geomagnetic storms happen most often in spring and fall. In other words, auroras prefer equinoxes. That's why seeing them so close to the summer solstice is remarkable.

The show is subsiding, but might not be finished. NOAA forecasters estimate a 45% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on June 10th as the solar wind continues to blow.

Comet

England night sky lit up by rare noctilucent clouds above Newcastle, Country Durham and Northumberland

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  • A photographer captured the rare phenomenon in the skies above Newcastle, Country Durham and Northumberland
  • It is caused by tiny ice crystals that form clouds in the mesopause and scatter the twilight from the summer sun
  • Noctilucent clouds are normally only visible in the weeks around summer solstice in more northerly latitudes
Rare clouds high in the Earth's atmosphere turned the night's sky a vivid blue yesterday as summer sunlight was scattered by tiny ice crystals.

Pictures captured in northern England show the midnight skies illuminated with an electric blue colour.

The phenomenon was caused by rare noctilucent clouds - extremely small ice crystals that form in the mesopause - that sit more than 47 miles (75km) above the Earth's surface.

These clouds, which are the highest in the Earth's atmosphere, scatter the sunlight as it dips low in the sky, creating an eerie glow.

They usually occur in the weeks around the summer solstice when sunlight dips just below the horizon to illuminate the clouds.

Comment: Noctilucent clouds were also captured a couple of days ago near Minsk, Belarus:

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© www.reddit.com/user/eugenegg



Nebula

Weird glowing light spotted over Netherlands: plasma discharge event?

Jellyfish UFO
© Harry Perton
Harry Perton captured a bizarre object that appeared like a jellyfish-shaped UFO with his camera. The image has prompted speculations on what the object really was.
Harry Perton ventured out after a storm last week to take photos for his blog after he saw beautiful skies from his window. He was not expecting to capture pictures of something unusual, but he was surprised upon checking his camera when he got home. He saw a jellyfish UFO.

He spotted what appeared to be a jellyfish UFO floating in the dark sky of Groningen, Netherlands flashing out green light. He related that he was taking photos when he noticed something.

"I was taking photos and suddenly something flashed. At first I thought it must have been my camera but the flash was not up and there was not a drop on my lens," Perton said.

He later dismissed this to be a strike of lightning, but when he got home, he saw something odd in one of the images that he took and it looked like a UFO with the shape of a jellyfish.

Comment: Trust the British Daily Mirror - the source of the description of this 'object' - to label it a 'jellyfish UFO', which are an entirely different class of UFO (they really look like giant jellyfish floating in the sky).

This recent photograph from Holland is clearly something else, and is similar to this plasma-like formation photographed above Chicago last September:

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© Unknown



Attention

Rare 'smile in the sky' rainbow spotted over Welsh border

Bravais' arc
A rare upside down rainbow has been caught on camera after it was spotted in the sky.

Quick-thinking Carol Bramley managed to catch a snap of the bizarre sight, known as a smile in the sky, on her camera phone after her son spotted it while in the garden.

Carol said: "It was amazing. I've never seen one before and I'll never seen one again."

The strange sight properly called a circumzenithal arc - also known as the Bravais' arc - is formed when sunlight refracts through horizontal ice crystals high in the atmosphere but it is hard to spot inverted rainbows as they are often concealed by clouds.

The Met Office say the phenomenon only occurs when thin wispy cirrus clouds - made of ice crystals - are at a specific angle to the sun.

Comment: If the recent past is any indication, then such phenomenon in the skies will only increase and become a common indicator that the upper atmosphere and the weather of the earth is changing.


Cloud Grey

'UFO clouds' form in wake of Texas storms

Lenticular clouds

'UFO' Lenticular clouds over central Texas.
Weird weather left strange signs in the Texas sky after giant storms rolled through. Red-tinted disk-shaped clouds twirled atop dark flat bases and drew groups of dazzled gazers in Robertson County, just north of College Station.

As the images crawled across the web, tweeters sounded the obvious alarm: the UFOs arrived. Or, as one user put it, "It's happening."

But scientists swiftly jumped in to dispel the internet buzz. The heavenly apparitions were but rare "lenticular clouds," various meteorologists declared on social media. Even in the absence of extraterrestrial pilots hidden in the shroud, the clouds are impressive.

Lenticular (which can mean "resembling the seed of a lentil") clouds are produced by a perfect combination of conditions rarely found in Texas. Usually they appear when warm humid air is thrust rapidly up mountainsides into cooler regions of the sky where vapor condenses into a fog.

Comment: Texas has been undergoing massive floods and numerous tornadoes. These out of place clouds are indicative of just how volatile the weather has become and is a telltale sign that massive changes are taking place with the earth's weather. Increased earthquakes, volcanoes popping off left and right, and massive floods not only in Texas, but also in China and Alaska. Are you paying attention yet?


Sun

Solar halo over Mexico City

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A solar halo in Mexico City
A solar halo appeared in Mexico City on Thursday - prompting dozens of calls from worried locals to meteorologists.

The phenomenon, which is actually an optical illusion, is caused when sunlight passes through ice crystals, causing the light to bend into a colourful ring.

Not satisfied with this scientific explanation, locals on social media claimed that an alien invasion was nigh, while other conspirators suggested the government was attempting to blind voters ahead of an election.

The halo was spotted in three cities, most notably above the capital's most famous landmark, the Angel of Independence.


Cloud Lightning

Huge apocalyptic thunderstorm cloud engulfs San Luis Potosi, Mexico

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Thunderstorm cloud over San Luis Potosi
This apocalyptic thunderstorm cloud suddenly appeared in the sky of San Luis Potosi surpising its residents!

That's really a giant cumulonimbus!

This type of giant and angry clouds are more than common in arid or desert areas. But not in San Luis Potosi!


Fire

Photographs of rare red 'lightning' sprites taken in New Mexico and Europe

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© Martin Popek
Lightning sprites captured in the Czech Republic on May 13, 2015.

Rarely seen brilliant red sprites were captured by photographers during thunderstorms last week in the Czech Republic and New Mexico.

Sprites are associated with lightning strikes but aren't actually lightning. Instead, sprites occur in the very high levels of the atmosphere above very strong thunderstorms, in the region called the mesosphere between 30 and 60 miles high. Sprites are triggered by positive cloud-to-ground lightning strikes in the storm — which is why they are most common during thunderstorm season — and typically only last a few seconds. They are usually shaped like jelly fish, columns or carrots.

"Sprites are a true space weather phenomenon," lightning scientist Oscar van der Velde of the Technical University of Catalonia, Spain, told spaceweather.com. "They develop in mid-air around 80 km [50 miles] altitude, growing in both directions, first down, then up. This happens when a fierce lightning bolt draws lots of charge from a cloud near Earth's surface. Electric fields [shoot] to the top of Earth's atmosphere - and the result is a sprite. The entire process takes about 20 milliseconds."

Question

What's causing those weird trumpet noises in the sky?

Strange Sounds
© YouTube
A woman reacts to hearing a strange noise coming from the sky in Texas.
Have you heard those weird, apocalyptic trumpet-like noises coming from the sky? People all over the world say they have.

So what are they? The short answer is no one knows.

The latest video of the mystery comes from Germany and was posted to YouTube last month.

In it, the puzzled photographer sticks a camera out the window as a woman asks in German, "What is that?"

In the background is heard a metallic-type groaning sound coming from the sky as if someone just put the key in the ignition of a large, invisible Close Encounters of the Third Kind kind of vehicle and started it up. The video is all the more eerie because a young boy is standing motionless in the street as the noise amplifies.

Take a listen. What do you think that is?


Fireball 2

Aboriginal legends reveal ancient secrets to science

Meteor
© BBC
Meteor streaks across the sky against a field of star.
Scientists are beginning to tap into a wellspring of knowledge buried in the ancient stories of Australia's Aboriginal peoples. But the loss of indigenous languages could mean it is too late to learn from them.

The Luritja people, native to the remote deserts of central Australia, once told stories about a fire devil coming down from the Sun, crashing into Earth and killing everything in the vicinity.

The local people feared if they strayed too close to this land they might reignite some otherworldly creature.

The legend describes the crash landing of a meteor in Australia's Central Desert about 4,700 years ago, says University of New South Wales (UNSW) astrophysicist Duane Hamacher.

It would have been a dramatic and fiery event, with the meteor blazing across the sky. As it broke apart, large fragments of metal-rich rock would have crashed to Earth with explosive force, creating a dozen giant craters.

The Northern Territory site, which was discovered in the 1930s by white prospectors with the help of Luritja guides, is today known as the Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve.