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originally posted by: redtic
Even more good info... Phil Plait to the rescue..
The answer lies in this: ice crystals, especially long needles, tend to become aligned with the ambient electric field.
So what you are seeing is sunlight reflecting off ice crystal faces that are constantly being oriented by the developing electric field just above the [cumulonimbus] top. Then there is a discharge in the cloud, and the field collapses momentarily, and the crystals begin to realign again. Then this just keeps happening over and over.
The video in the OP is even more drastic, but I think case closed, at least for me. Thanks for the mystery!
originally posted by: eisegesis
originally posted by: Rezlooper
a reply to: eisegesis
I await the experts. should be interesting. If this is real then that would have been pretty intense to see. My reaction would have been the same exact response of the guy capturing the video. WTF!
Whenever I see videos like this, I always listen to the reaction of the viewer. I try to gauge what reaction I expect to see or hear and soon realize how unfair that is. People react differently to different situations. Some are left speechless, some start dropping the f-bomb and some react totally unexpectedly.
I think I've been on ATS long enough to know the proper protocol when situations like this present themselves. Get that camera out, keep it steady, get immediate surrounding footage of the landscape for reference and NEVER accompany the video with anything off of The Matrix soundtrack.
Explanation: What's happening above those clouds? In the past few years, videos have appeared on the web detailing an unusual but little known phenomenon: rapid light changes over clouds. Upon inspection and contemplation, a leading hypothesis for its cause has now emerged. In sum, this hypothesis holds that a lightning discharge in a thundercloud can temporarily change the electric field above the cloud where charged ice crystals were reflecting sunlight. The new electric field quickly re-orients the geometric crystals to a new orientation that reflects sunlight differently. In other words, a lightning discharge can cause a sundog to jump. Soon, the old electric field may be restored, causing the ice crystals to return to their original orientation. To help this curious phenomenon become better studied, sky enthusiasts with similar jumping or dancing sundog videos are encouraged to share them
Years ago during museum exhibits work I was explaining rainbow optics ...and also explaining thunderstorm dynamics. I stumbled across a strange idea: shouldn't rainbows be visibly altered by the strong electrostatic fields in thunderstorms? E-fields should slightly distort falling raindrops. This would slightly alter the light distribution of a rainbow. Sometimes we should notice that a rainbow suddenly "flicks" during a lightning bolt, then slowly changes to its initial pattern as the e-fields build before another strike
Sprites last less than a second as they dance on the tops of thunderstorms. Many viewers say the clusters of charged particles look like jellyfish — big, red balls with tendrils that reach down into the clouds. But red sprites take many shapes, from crowns to carrots, and researchers still don't why. Because few sprites are seen from the ground, thanks to obscuring storms, scientists are hunting them from the air.