Beautiful and Mysterious Asperatus Clouds
Although their cause is presently unknown, such unusual atmospheric structures, as menacing as they might seem, do not appear to be harbingers of upcoming storms. Asperatus clouds are known informally as Undulatus asperatus from Latin which roughly translates to “roughened or agitated waves”. They are stunning in appearance, unusual in occurrence, are relatively unstudied, and have even been suggested as a new type of cloud. Nature once again painting the sky.
Rare Lenticular Clouds
The stunning meteorological phenomena of lenticular clouds (Altocumulus lenticularis) is a rare spectacle. Looking more like UFO’s than clouds, they are created by three conditions: warm and moist air, winds with constant height and something big, like a tall mountain. When a current of air hits an obstacle in its way, it begins to travel upwards and starts to condense forming a lens-shaped cloud with multiple layers.
Both absolutely fascinating and absolutely stunning. Complement with The Cloud Collector’s Handbook.
Rare Atmospheric Phenomena
- Lunar corona over Villefranche, France.
- The Northern Lights over Myvatn, N.E. Iceland.
- An iridescent display over Cerro Aconcagua, Argentina.
Star Trails in Australia
Many photographers like to experiment with long exposure photography techniques, but an Australian Lincoln Harrison gives a new definition to the word “long”. The 37-year-old Victorian showcases a portfolio of mesmerizing long exposure star trail photography, with some of his photo shoots taking up to 15 hours. The photos are made at his personal favorite spot over Lake Eppalock, in the Australian outback.
The star swirls are the result of the rotation of the Earth, and makes you think you’re witnessing the stars traveling across the sky. “With no buildings for miles, the sky is so clear and it’s amazing to be able to capture the beauty of the night’s sky on camera,” says Lincoln.
Spectacular Display of the Northern Lights in Norway
It is easy to see why our ancestors were in awe of this magisterial display. Cowering lest they be sucked into the skies, they imagined that what they were seeing were the spirits of the dead; they saw warriors with burning swords, shoals of shimmering fish, the reflections of departed maidens. They felt it was dangerous to be outside.
The Mysterious Marfa Lights
The Marfa lights are visible every clear night between the Marfa and Paisano Pass in Texas. At times they appear colored as they twinkle in the distance. They move about, split apart, melt together, disappear, and reappear. Residents have watched the lights for over a hundred years. The first historical record of them occurred in 1883 when a young cowhand saw flickering lights while he was driving cattle through Paisano Pass. He was told by other settlers that they often saw the lights, but when they investigated they found no ashes or other evidence of a campsite.
World War I observers feared that the lights were intended to guide an invasion. During World War II pilots training at a nearby airfield looked for the source of the elusive lights from the air, again with no success.
Over the years many explanations for the lights have been offered, ranging from an electrostatic discharge, swamp gas, or moonlight shining on veins of mica, to ghosts of conquistadors looking for gold.
The most plausible explanation is that the lights are an unusual phenomenon similar to a mirage, caused by an atmospheric condition produced by the interaction of cold and warm layers of air that bend light so that it is seen from a distance but not up close. In recent years the lights have become a tourist attraction.
The Texas State Highway Department has constructed a roadside parking area nine miles east of Marfa on U.S. Highway 90 for motorists to view the curious phenomenon. The lights have made the little town of Marfa famous. To draw more tourists for the mysterious lights, the city has begun an annual festival to celebrate them.