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Thu, 20 Jul 2017
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Strange Skies


'Rare' cloud phenomenon seen over Bournemouth, UK

© [email protected]
A rare cloud 'phenomenon' was spotted over Bournemouth last week.

The rainbow coloured haze in the cloudy sky led a string of enquiries on social media.

And while many put the colourful sight down to cloud iridescence, some said it could also be a circumhorizontal arc. Cloud iridescence happens when light is diffracted by ice crystals in the clouds, producing a rainbow effect.


Purple aurora, noctilucent clouds seen over Germany

Some nice space weather duet last night on the north German island Fehmarn.
© Laura Kranich
We could only see the bright noctilucent clouds which lasted for about 3 hours through midnight. When I reviewed the ~3000 images I had taken, I saw the purple aurora above the NLCs.

It was probably too weak to be seen in the midnight twilight but strong enough for the camera to capture some of its color. We didn't notice a thing with our bare eyes.


Sun halo in Pattaya, Thailand taken as omen for national lottery

© Pattaya Mail
A rare “sun halo” had Pattaya looking skyward, with gamblers, as usual, taking it as a lottery omen.
A rare "sun halo" had Pattaya looking skyward, with gamblers, as usual, taking it as a lottery omen.

The circular rainbow - caused by pollution mixed with heavy moisture content in the atmosphere - was easily seen and many people took photos and posted it to social media.

Some saw the halo as a good sign given its timing close to the national lottery drawing. They somehow managed to divine numbers from the numberless sky show.

The sun halo phenomenon occurs in the troposphere, the lowest region of the atmosphere. Cirrus clouds in the troposphere form no more than 10 kilometers from the surface and are extremely cold.

Cloud Grey

Enchanting noctilucent clouds filmed over northern Alberta, Canada

© Adrien Mauduit
Photographer and videographer Adrien Mauduit posted this video at EarthSky Facebook this week. He's been working with Project PoSSUM - a research, training and education program supported by NASA - whose goal is the study of noctilucent clouds, also called NLCs or night-shining clouds.

In other words, these clouds are seen at night, shining in the darkness. PoSSUM's 2017 noctilucent cloud airborne campaign recently kicked off, based in the remote town of High Level in northern Alberta, Canada. Mauduit, who is based in Denmark, is also in Alberta, helping the project by acquiring ground imagery.

Bizarro Earth

Auckland city hit by more than 700 lightning strikes in fierce thunderstorm

© Screen Capture/YouTube
More than 700 lightning strikes lit up the stormy sky over Auckland during a violent thunderstorm yesterday evening.

MetService duty forecaster Tuporo Marsters said the city was struck by 701 flashes and rocked by loud, rolling thunderclaps.

The dangerous storm swept across the city at rush hour, grounding flights, flooding homes and shops, and leaving roads knee-deep in water.

Spectacular footage has also emerged on social media capturing the moment a lightning fork struck the top of the city's tallest building.

Cloud Grey

Noctilucent cloud season begins in Moscow

© Via [email protected]
Night clouds can be seen in about an hour after sunset, said the head of the Hydrometeorological Center of Russia

Unusual noctilucent clouds can be seen in the night sky over Moscow. This was announced on Wednesday TASS director of the Hydrometeorological Center of Russia Roman Vilfand.

He noted that this phenomenon is a beautiful decoration in Summer sky. Such clouds can be observed on 4 and 5 July in the clear sky at night.

"These clouds are visible at night, they are often also called nocturnal clouds They are silvery and beautifully lit at night. When the sun sets, its rays penetrate deep into the atmosphere, penetrating it with light." - Vilfand said.

According to him, the noctilucent clouds are a cluster of molecules of water vapor. "These clouds are very high, at a distance of about 100 km from the surface of the Earth. To predict their occurrence can not be because we do not understand their nature. They appear in the summer, and the nature of these clouds is not fully known..." said Vilfand.


Circumhorizontal arc creates brilliant display in clouds over Nanaimo, BC

The colours in the sky never cease to amaze me; from cool sunrises to brilliant sunsets, to rainbows and halos around the sun.

Karen Butler of Nanaimo snapped a few pictures of bright colours dancing across the clouds a few days ago, the result of a circumhorizon arc.
© Karen Butler
A circumhorizon arc is a halo of sorts, and it appears when the sun is very high in the sky - higher than 58°. It's typically oriented parallel to the horizon. Often it's only visible in fragments when cirrus clouds aloft are lit with a rainbow of colours. The colours are the result of sunlight passing through the ice crystals that make up the cirrus cloud. The crystals themselves act like a prism, essentially splitting the sunlight into the spectrum of colours.


Noctilucent clouds captured over northeast UK

© David Whinham
They glow in the dead of the night when everything should be dark.

And this weekend the region got a spectacular, if slightly eerie view of them.

Noctilucent clouds (the Latin name that basically translates to 'night shining') are a strange phenomena in the upper atmosphere.

You can only see them during the summer.

They are formed from small ice crystals so high up that they are still catching the sun even though, for those of us on the ground, it has set.

Comment: NASA blowing meteor smoke as noctilucent clouds intensify


Huge contrail of Boeing 787 filmed over Russia (VIDEO)

© NewsFlare
The amazing video, filmed from another plane, shows the contrail forming 33,000 feet in the air.
This incredible footage shows a Boeing 787 Dreamliner create a giant cloud of vapour trail as it soars through the skies over Russia.

The amazing video, filmed from another plane, shows the contrail forming 33,000 feet in the air.

The passenger who shot the video wrote online: 'This contrail looks dark against the rising sun.'

Vapour trails occur when areas of low pressure form around the edge of the wing, creating vortices - tubes of circulating air - that leave trails behind the wing's tips.

The low pressure in these areas mean that cold air can condense, leaving spectacular trails of water or even ice behind the plane.

Comment: Further evidence of our changing atmosphere? See also: For articles on so-called 'chemtrails' see:


Sensational sun halo hovers over Bangkok, Thailand

© Macutd/Twitter
At around 10am today, Bangkok witnessed a sun halo, a phenomenon in which a full 360 degree rainbow is seen encircling the sun.

Netizens tweeted pictures of the beautiful rainbow from many corners of Bangkok this morning.