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Wed, 21 Nov 2018
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Strange Skies


Changing atmosphere: Footage of Russian rocket flyover lights up social media

Russia's Soyuz rocket
© Taken from https://vk.com/club134454330
Russia's Soyuz rocket
A scheduled launch of Russia's Soyuz rocket with a satellite aboard turned into quite an event in Russia after pictures of it heading into space baffled the whole country.

People across Russia took to social media to post dazzling pictures and videos featuring a mysterious object flying over them in the night to Sunday. Searching for an explanation, some said it could have been a UFO. Others said the white oval object leaving a massive trail could be a sign that Russia's state of the art ICBM Topol-M had been launched.

However, alien-seekers were left disappointed, as it turned out to be a Russian Soyuz 2.1-b rocket, which was launched at 12:46am Moscow time (21:46 GMT) from the Plesetsk test launch site. Several hours later, the carrier rocket's Fregat booster put the Glonass-M navigational satellite into orbit. The satellite will join the group of Russia's Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS), which currently has a total of 25 objects, one of which is currently undergoing flight tests.

Comment: There are a great many signs that our atmosphere is changing:

Cloud Grey

Ominous clouds photographed over Nebraska, US

clouds nebraska

Comment: With the rise in rare and unexplained phenomena in our skies, clearly something is changing in our atmosphere: Also check out SOTTs' monthly documentary: SOTT Earth Changes Summary - May 2018: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs


"Fire rainbow" spotted in Vermont sky

Fire rainbow over Vermont
© Trish Lanfear
An iridescent rainbow-colored cloud seemed to magically materialize in the sky above Vermont. The colorful streaks across Sunday's blue sky puzzled some people who saw it near the New York-Vermont border.

It's a "fire rainbow," WCAX reports. The phenomenon has made headlines before, and it's technically called a "circumhorizontal arc," National Geographic explains.

A similar fire rainbow made headlines in San Francisco less than two months ago. The National Weather Service shared several photos of that fire rainbow and an explanation from meteorologist Roger Gass.

Cloud Grey

'Rare' noctilucent cloud drifts over Puget Sound, Washington

Noctilucent  clouds over WA
Tuesday started with clear skies and an unusual phenomenon. Between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. thin bright white clouds appeared in the night sky. These were noctilucent clouds - the highest clouds in the earth's atmosphere!

Our usual high clouds may reach up to four to five miles, but noctilucent clouds occur around 50 miles up in the earth's mesosphere - basically on the edge of space. These clouds are made up of very tiny ice crystal - 100 nanometers or smaller. A nanometer is 1 billionth of a meter.

Researchers are still looking for a clear explanation of these clouds. They know that they only occur around local summer, and they know they only occur at higher latitudes. But much of their origin is still being figured out.


'Upside-down rainbow' seen in Newcastle, UK sky

Circumzenithal arc over Newcastle
© Lewis Maudlin
Anybody spot an upside-down rainbow in the sky over Newcastle?

The phenomenon occurred over the city on Saturday evening and luckily someone got a picture.

Lewis Maudlin, 24, from Wallsend, was playing pool at his girlfriend's house in Walker when he clocked the uncommon sight.

He said: "It was lovely night, still dead sunny and clear after 7pm.


Cosmic history comes into question after new giant stars discovery

Giant Star
As Neil DeGrasse Tyson is fond of saying, "We are all stardust." Zooming out a bit, however, reveals that almost everything is stardust, more or less: after the Big Bang, stars were responsible for creating the heavier elements on the periodic table that eventually became the building blocks for planets, carbon-based life, and (in a roundabout way) Elon Musk.

Stars are so integral to our universe that astronomers and scientists can use stars' masses, births, and deaths to get a handle on the entire history of our cosmos.

And it turns out our current history may be wrong.

It comes down to this: More massive stars live shorter, brighter lives before exploding into supernovas, which can spur the creation of new stars, as well as black holes and even solar systems.

If you want to understand the patterns that shaped galaxies (and the rest of the universe), then you need to understand stars.

Cloud Lightning

Unusual outburst of red sprites during storm over Europe, and cosmic ray mapping expands

Red Sprites
© Martin Popek
Red Sprites June 8, 2018 @ Nýdek, Czech republic

Sprite lightning
storm over Europe

This weekend, a powerful mesoscale convective system (MSC) of thunderstorms over central Europe produced a furious outburst of sprites. "It was unreal," says Martin Popek of Nýdek, Czechia, a veteran photographer of the upward directed bolts. "I recorded more than 250 sprites in only 4.5 hours of observation! That's nearly as many as I typically see in the entire summer thunderstorm season."

This is a jellyfish sprite--so called because it resembles the eponymous sea creature. Jellyfish sprites are typically very large, stretching as much as 50 km between the tops of their heads to the tips of their tentacles below. "Regular jellyfish sprites are associated with very strong positive cloud-to-ground lightning strokes in the underlying convective storms," notes lightning scientist Oscar van der Velde of the Technical University of Catalonia, Spain.

However, not all of the jellyfish were regular. Some were "decapitated"--without heads. "I recorded about 20 sets of tentacles only," says Popek.

Here is one example of many:

Comment: We're seeing a surge of unusual phenomena on earth and in tandem similar changes are happening in our skies: For more, check out SOTTs monthly documentary: SOTT Earth Changes Summary - April 2018: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs


Strange skies: Red Sprites in Oklahoma, aurora Steve in Canada, iridescent clouds in Illinois and noctilucent clouds in Denmark

red sprites oklahoma 30th May 2018
© Paul Smith
Red Sprite Lightning. May 30, 2018 @ Edmond, Oklahoma, USA
The epicentre of Sprite Alley

Oklahoma is a good place to see sprites. "I photograph them often," says Paul Smith of Edmond OK. "Here are some examples from May 30th flashing above fast-moving storms in the Oklahoma panhandle."

"Venus is the bright 'star' just behind the windmill," he adds.

Oklahoma is the epicenter of a region that we call "Sprite Alley," a corridor stretching across the US Great Plains where intense thunderstorms produce lots of upward directed lightning--a.k.a. "sprites."

Comment: It wasn't so long ago that these strange sights in the sky were considered a rarity, now they're being documented daily. And it's not just up above that we're paying witness to the great changes afoot, it's below too: Also check out SOTT's monthly documentary: SOTT Earth Changes Summary - April 2018: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs


Icy clouds provide easel for brilliant sun halos over northwest Washington

Sun dogs in NW WA
© Zach Heistand
If you were up early Wednesday morning, you might have been treated to a rather brilliant show in the skies near the sun.

Photos from around the region showed a rather bright halo around the sun, with stunning sun dogs flanking either side and even a tangent arc on the top.

The halos are caused by the ice crystals in those thin, high clouds. The sunlight gets refracted by those ice crystals, making the colors of the rainbow.


Adapt 2030 Ice Age Report: Arctic atmosphere changed, noctilucent clouds and Hawaii eruption hits geothermal well

Drifting snow is piled high on CBC producer David Newell's deck in Gander
© David Newell/CBC
Drifting snow in Gander, Newfoundland
Dr Madhav Khandekar expert reviewer for the IPCC says that winters in the Norther Hemisphere are becoming significantly colder and snowier. This Noctiluscent cloud season is a no-show and scientists are baffled as to why nothing is showing over the Arctic. Kilauea eruption lava rivers have reached the Geothermal power station covering one well head and emergency services are waiting to see if the chemicals will blow out the well in an eruption fashion of its own.