Halo, Sundog & Circumzenithal Arc over Marquette

Solar Halo over Marquette Lighthouse

Welcome to the Smile High Club, photo by Lake Superior Photo

Today’s photo is one of the most incredible pictures I’ve seen. In addition to the Marquette Harbor Light and the frozen Superior shore, there’s a cornucopia of solar optics that fairly defies imagination.

Atmospheric Optics is a wonderful website, certainly the best I’ve found for describing solar phenomena in a clear and inspiring manner. Here’s a bit of decoding of what’s happening in the skies of Marquette yesterday, but definitely follow the links to explore. There’s so much information and some great photos too!

First, above the lighthouse, there’s a 22º radius halo:

…visible all over the world and throughout the year. Look out for them (eye care!) whenever the sky is wisped or hazed with thin cirrus clouds. These clouds are cold and contain ice crystals in even the hottest climes.

The halo is large. Stretch out the fingers of your hand at arms length. The tips of the thumb and little finger then subtend roughly 20°. Place your thumb over the the sun and the halo will be near the little finger tip.

The halo is always the same diameter regardless of its position in the sky. Sometimes only parts of the complete circle are visible.

There’s also a sundog, known also as parhelia or mock sun. These appear in the 22º halo, even when you can’t see the halo. You can see one at the visible base of the halo on the right:

They are most easily seen when the sun is low. Look about 22° (outstretched hand at arm’s length) to its left and right and at the same height. When the sun is higher they are further away. Each ‘dog’ is red coloured towards the sun and sometimes has greens and blues beyond. Sundogs can be blindingly bright, at other times they are a mere coloured smudge on the sky.

They advise you’ll see one or two a week if you look and if you click over you can learn about how they form & moon dogs.

Finally, we come to the circumzenithal arc (CZA), the upside down rainbow at the top:

…the most beautiful of all the halos. The first sighting is always a surprise, an ethereal rainbow fled from its watery origins and wrapped improbably about the zenith. It is often described as an “upside down rainbow” by first timers. Someone also charmingly likened it to “a grin in the sky”.

Look straight up near to the zenith when the sun if fairly low and especially if sundogs are visible. The centre of the bow always sunwards and red is on the outside.

The CZA is never a complete circle around the zenith, that is the exceptionally rare and only recently photographed Kern arc.

Read on for more, and definitely be sure to check atoptics.co.uk when you see solar & lunar phenonmena you’d like to know more about.

View Shawn’s photo bigger and join thousands of others in following Lake Superior Photo on Facebook … and on the Twitters. You can purchase this photo on the Lake Superior Photo website.

PS: Check out Dominic B. Davis’s photo of the solar halo in the morning too!

and then I saw this cloud…

Untitled

Untitled, photo by Scottie Williford

Hoping you see some cool sights and enjoy a great weekend!

View Scottie’s photo bigger and see more in his slideshow.

More clouds on Michigan in Pictures.

The Lunar Express

Something Special in the Air

Something Special in the Air, photo by Shane Wyatt

A reminder that The Lunar Express boards early tomorrow morning for a total eclipse of the October full moon. The partial umbral eclipse begins at 5:15 AM EDT on October 8, with the total eclipse starting at 6:25 AM, peaking at 6:55 and ending at 7:24.

Get all the details on the Super Hunter’s Blood Moon in eclipse from Michigan in Pictures!

View Shane’s photo bigger and see more of Shane’s moon photos right here.

 

Bye Bye Summer

Summer ... bye bye

Summer … bye bye, photo by Ken Scott

Probably the best thing I’ve heard about “Summer 2014” being over is that it really wasn’t much of one anyway.

I hope everyone enjoys their last weekend of summer, and that we have a warm & long fall!

View Ken’s photo bigger, see more in his massive Sleeping Bear Dunes slideshow and definitely follow him on Facebook.

Mirror Morning

Hasrot Beach

Haserot Beach, photo by lomeranger

One of the things I love about Spring and early Summer is how calm the water can be.

Jason shot this at 6 AM on the Old Mission Peninsula near Traverse City. View his photo background bigtacular, see more in his Landscapes VII slideshow and purchase it if you wish at his photography website.

There’s more sunrises and more Spring wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Equinox to Equinox, 2014

Thill's-Fish-Market-by-Jorie-Obrien

 Day Two, photo by Jorie O’Brien

Jorie started her Equinox to Equinox series on March 20th – click the link to follow along until, I imagine, September 23rd.

There’s more from Jorie on Michigan in Pictures including a multi-day profile that’s really worth your time.

PS: This is Thill’s Fish House in Marquette, and excellent place to buy fresh, Lake Superior fish in the Marquette harbor.

 

 

2014 Meteor Shower Calendar starts tonight with the Quadrantids

meteor and milky way

meteor and milky way, photo by HLHigham

EarthSky’s meteor shower guide for 2014 says that:

Although the Quadrantids can produce over 100 meteors per hour, the sharp peak of this shower tends to last only a few hours, and doesn’t always come at an opportune time. In other words, you have to be in the right spot on Earth to view this meteor shower in all its splendor. The radiant point is in the part of the sky that used to be considered the constellation Quadrans Muralis the Mural Quadrant. You’ll find this radiant near the famous Big Dipper asterism (chart here), in the north-northeastern sky after midnight and highest up before dawn.

Because the radiant is fairly far to the north on the sky’s dome, meteor numbers will be greater in the Northern Hemisphere. In 2014, watch in the wee hours – after midnight and before dawn – on January 3 in North America and January 4 in Asia. Fortunately, the waxing crescent moon sets soon after sunset, providing a dark sky for meteor watching.

Click through for more and a calendar of 2014 meteor showers. The next shower isn’t until the Lyrids on April 22nd so check them out tonight and early AM on the 4th if you can! You can get viewing tips for the Quads from Universe today too!

View Heather’s photo big as the sky and in her Night Sky slideshow.

crashing to Earth

crashing to Earth

crashing to Earth, photo by .brianday

Brian suggests the Cinematic Orchestra’s Outer Space to accompany this photo. View it on black and might I suggest queuing up the song above and digging into his Gray Matter slideshow.

More amazing work from Brian Day on Michigan in Pictures.