Thursday, March 2, 2017

Vertical Rainbows

"Sun Dogs!"
"Vertical Rainbows!"
- Terry Schmidt

Text messages I received one recent evening from my friend Terry.

This is the display she was alerting me to:

I took the above image from the parking lot at my office before receiving her messages. And the one below just a few hundred meters down the road from my home after.

In between, on my drive home, the display was like the 'vertical rainbow' Terry was so excited about. Alas, there was nowhere for me to pull over and get a clear shot of the sky. As a consolation prize though, the first image has a faint 22 halo and circumzenithal arc (bigify the image to see them) along with the sundogs.

Sundogs are a relatively common phenomena, but often go unnoticed as most people are not in the habit of looking up, especially in the direction of the sun.

Here are some shots from a recent display at my home.

In addition to the sundog, in the above image we see cloud iridescence just above the sun and diffraction rays from the diaphragm of the camera.

A closeup of the sundog.

The shots above and below show how the sundog changes over time as the clouds move relative to the  sun.

These last two images show something of the 'vertical rainbow' effect, although no where near as pronounced as that which Terry witnessed.

This first shot is another from my office parking lot.

And this second from a local supermarket parking lot (the colored rays emanating from the sun in both are an effect of the camera, and not actually in the sky (how cool would it be if they were?)).

Of course sundogs, created by ice crystals, are not rainbows, which are created by water droplets, although it is easy to understand why one might think they are one and the same. Nevertheless there is one way in which they are the same. They are both cool to see.

So, watch the skies ...

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