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Atmospheric Phenomenen Identyifying- List

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posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 08:16 PM
Ok, Im hoping this might be made into a sticky thread for future benefit. I notice a lot of well known (and some not so well known) phenomena here are misidentified as other things like UFO, nibiru etc. So Ive compiled a list of atmospheric phenomen for ATS members to use as a reference for future threads or posts. Please feel free to add more pictures here too, as some of the phenomena are extraordinarily beautiful.

Sundogs are a coloured patch of light, or mock sun, that are seen to the left or right, or both sides of the sun. The effect is produced when plate shaped ice crystals in Cirrus or Cirrostratus clouds diffract sunlight. They are most easily seen when the sun is low on the horizon, which makes them quite common in extreme northerly and southerly locations. Sundogs usually exhibit colours of red, blue and green, althouh some will only exhibit a reddish or yellowish colour. They are a quite common phenomena, and have sometimes been mistake as Nibiru here on ATS

22 Degree Circular Halo
The 22 degree circular halo is probably the most commonly seen halo phenomena. Its occurs when hexagonal ice crystals such as those found in sheets of cirrostratus cloud refract sunlight. Occasionally halos may consist of a coloured band, other times, its not very noticeable. They also occur around the moon when there is cirrostratus cloud present

Tangent Arc
The Tangent arc is another halo phenomena which is quite often seen in conjunction with the 22 degree halo (its sits at the top of the circular holo). It occurs when column shaped ice crystals drift across the sky laying on their sides, or horizontally. It usually occurs during the morning, and the gull wing shape increases as the sun gets higher in the sky. They can exhibit colours as well. See link for example

Sunpillars are columns of light beaming upwards, and occasionally downwards for the sun. They are experienced during sunrise and sunset when tiny horizontal ice crystals reflect light. Other sources of light such as bright construction lights and streetlamps can also produce this effect. The below image has sundogs as well

Circumzenithal Arc
This looks like an upside down rainbow. It is formed in Cirrus clouds when sunlight enters an ice prism and exits at a 90 degree angle. It never forms more than a quarter of a circle, and the colours are often much more clearer than the colours in rainbows. It occurs quite often when the sun is low, and sundogs may also be visible at the same time

Parhelic Circle
A Parhelic circle is a white circle around the sun (although greenish tinges have been known to occur). These occur when vertical hexagonal ice crystals refract the sun. They are always the same height as the sun, often moving with it if there are enough ice crystlas in the air. Its quite rare for a full circle to be seen, and most oftenly only fragments are seen. The below link is probably the best picture ever of a parhelic circle

Circumhorizon Arc or Cirumhorizontal Arc
This colourful phenomena occurs within cirrus clouds (plate shaped ice crystals must be present) when the sun is high up in the sky. It can be seen as a halo, or more often as streaks of bright colours within clouds, and occurs parallel to the horizon. Its commonly mistaken as iridescence (by me a lot too, lol, will get to that a little later). Locations to far north and south of the equator are less likely to see it as the sun very rarely gets high enough in the sky for it to occur.

Kern Arc
If you ever see one of these I bow down to you. These are so rare that only one or two photos of them exists (see link). It occurs when sunlight passes through the top face of an plate shaped ice crystal and leaves through the vertical side like a cirumzenithal arc, but is reflected within the ice crystal, and exits at a 60 degree angle. Because of the rarity of a crystal that does this, it almost never occurs.

Lenticular Clouds
Lenticular clouds are a type of altocumulus clouds that occur quite frequently (but not restricted to) hilly or mountainous areas. They are commonly thought by some people to be UFO's hidden in clouds, due to their lense type shape. The occur when waves of stable air flow over a moutain, if the temperature at the highest point of the crest of the wave drops below the current dewpoint, then a lenticular cloud will form. As the mosit air continues to flow, it builds layer upon layer on the lenticular cloud, until it reaches a temperature higher then the dewpoint.

Pileus Clouds
Also known as cap clouds, these form on top of thunderstorm (cumulonimbus clouds) or towering cumulus. They occur when updrafts within these clouds bring warmer air higher, forcing that it to cool to dewpoint, creating a cap like cloud at the highest point on the cloud. They are a good sign that there are turbulent winds being created by the cloud. Occasionally on ATS, a certain picture is brought up claiming that a pileus cloud is a UFO hiding behind a cloud, as they sometimes to appear in that shape. Iridescence is also common in these clouds

That concluded the first part of the thread. I have more phenomena to add shortly. Please feel free to post your own pictures here, Im sure everyone would love to see them

posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 08:26 PM
Nice bit of info Oz, thanks

Those Lenticular Clouds are great, can see how people think it's something to do with ufo's
i'd love to see those with the naked eye, very cool!

[edit on 10-12-2009 by valiant]

posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 08:35 PM
Yea thanx 4 the info. I have witnessed a few of those but never knew what they were called. S&F

[edit on 12/10/2009 by nikobellic]

posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 08:45 PM
love it man, thanks. i love these phenomenon not just for helping to discern what is and is not paranormal, but also because they are just so cool.

posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 09:02 PM
Hi OzWeatherman

I found this picture of lightnings lately, it might help with the thread.

cheers and take care.


posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 09:15 PM
whooo...beautiful stuff and educational. thanks! Given the current "Norway situation" we could all use a dose of some good sky-related info.
I'm constantly amazed by just how little most people know about the natural world, tv has nearly ruined us. How many people even take time to sit back and just watch the sky anymore?
When I see sundogs here I can usually count on rain coming in the next 12-24 hours.

posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 09:27 PM
Excellent work, OZ. I WILL use this thread as a stickie...... great resource material.

I've noticed lately....... the air has been very humid, and at night bright stars, particularly those close to the horizon, where the light from them moves through the atmosphere --- these stars appear to flash in a myriad of colors. It's quite beautiful, and also very natural. It doesn't signify the arrival of any etherial dieties. It's not a mothership, given that it is quantifiable via star charts.

Good job... oh, and........

What, no green flash?

posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 09:45 PM
Part Two

This occurs mainly in high level clouds such as cirrus and ciorrostratus and mid level clouds such as altocumulus, and clouds usually close to the sun (which is usually hidden as well). Iridesence is a rainbow effect that happens within clouds with similar sized water droplets. Sunlight is refracted and diffracted causing the coronal effect, similar to that of a rainbow. It usually doesnt last that long as the water droplets evolve and change size. Its most spectacular when seen in lenticular clouds

Fogbows ocur in areas of fog or sea mist. The only other necessity to see them is sunlight. Next time your in fog and the sun is out, turn so you are facing away from the sun and you may be able to see one of these. Again they are formed by microscopic water partcicles scattering sunlight. The particular picture below has whats known as a broken spectre in it which I will get to shortly

Brocken Spectre
This is quite a common phenomenen in misty, mountainous areas. It occurs when the sun is behind someone, and the environment is misty or foggy. The sun casts the peson shadow onto the water droplets creating a ghostly figure. Occasionally the shadow can be monsterous in size. It has been mistaken many times for paranormal activity. Also, if you are at crusing altitude in a plane, and you are flying above a layer of cloud, have a look outside and you may see the image of the plane prjected onto the cloud below.

This is another solar effect on someones shadow giving them the appearance of a "glowing halo" around the head. It occurs when the ground is covered in dew, and the sun is behind you. If you obscure the sun with your head, you will notice that it appears to be bathed in a white light. Heiligenschein is German for holy light

Lowitz Arc
Here we have the most controversial halo. The reason they are controversial is because they had never been photographed until recently. They should appear as a concave line or quarter circle curving downwards, extending through a 22 degree halo at about 10 or 2 o'clock. Unfortunantly most observations thus far have only shown very weak lines. Again these are thought to form in hexagonal crystals reflecting sunlight at three different angles, however the formation is still being disputed by experts. No picture is available for this as of yet because of the controversy.

44 Degree Parhelia
These extremely rare halo are pretty much sundogs, of sundogs. They occur when sunlight has already passed through a plate ice crystal, like sundogs, but then are passed through a similar ice crystal at the exact same angle and being deflected further. Again due to the rarity, there are not many photos but this linke show them pretty good

More to come soon

[edit on 10/12/2009 by OzWeatherman]

posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 10:03 PM
Thanks for taking the time to do this, i find it all really fascinating. Don't forget the Moon

posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 10:23 PM

Originally posted by Grey Magic
Hi OzWeatherman

I found this picture of lightnings lately, it might help with the thread.

cheers and take care.


Fantastic picture

But what does it all mean?

posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 11:13 PM
Contrail Shadows
These have been reported to be evidence of a government coverup, but that is not the case. Contrails shadows occur when the sun shines a shadow of the contrail onto a transparent or semi transparent veil of cirrostratus. Because cirrostratus cloud is so thin at times, the shadow is often visible from the ground. The shadow is formed when the plane is travelling away from the sun, meaning the shadow is formed in such a way that it appears as though the plane is flying towards it.

Noctilucent Clouds
At the higher latitutes during summer, a special type of cloud known as a Noctilucent cloud can form. Unlike normal clouds which all form in the troposphere, noctilucent clouds form as high as 80 to 100kms in the atmosphere (which is in the mesopause). They can only be seen when the sun is low on the horizon.

Little is known about these clouds, but what is known, is that they were first sighted in 1885, which coincidently was just 2 years after Krakatoa's eruption. It is thought that water vapour and dust particles thrust up high into the atmosphere are the result of these brilliant clouds. All noctilucent clouds appear as a pale blue, which is due to the presence of Ozone.

posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 11:25 PM
This is a truly fantastic post, thanks for taking the time to compile this list. Keep up the good work.

posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 11:27 PM
I have seen the 22 Degree Circular Halo a few times in the past year.
One of the neatest things i have seen.
Thanks for posting!

posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 01:23 AM

Originally posted by OzWeatherman
Contrail Shadows
These have been reported to be evidence of a government coverup, but that is not the case. Contrails shadows occur when the sun shines a shadow of the contrail onto a transparent or semi transparent veil of cirrostratus. Because cirrostratus cloud is so thin at times, the shadow is often visible from the ground. The shadow is formed when the plane is travelling away from the sun, meaning the shadow is formed in such a way that it appears as though the plane is flying towards it.

Nice Pictures, cool rainbows and just one little thing, this is not to derail or any thing, Im just gonna say this, cause what this is, is just like TPTB are doing to get things hidden in plain sight..

I really dont think, well, I know you dont have the authority to say that Chemtrails dont exist, that is all...

Lots of eye witnesses and photo/video evidence on that..

As I said, Just needed to say this, since you bring it up first, again Nice Pictures and all that, just dont draw your own conclutions and state it as a fact with a picture saying : look , it is just a donut...

Ps. Lets not disuss this topic here, okey. Again nice photos...

posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 02:05 AM

Originally posted by ChemBreather

Ps. Lets not disuss this topic here, okey. Again nice photos...

This is why we can't have nice things.

posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 05:08 AM
reply to post by ChemBreather

Yes, good call

Ive got some more stuff to post, which I will do in a few days, so hopefully you all keep track of this thread. Its been made into a sticky by the way.

Also, if anyone has any pictures, please do post them

posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 06:02 AM
reply to post by OzWeatherman

Oz -great thread.

Heres some other interesting reading on atmospheric phenomena and what UFOs are not:


Ball lightning:


Lenticular clouds:

Noctilucent clouds:

UFOLOGIE 'Science and the UFO phenomenon'


[edit on 02/10/08 by karl 12]

posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 06:26 AM
Those are really pretty. Nature does some really cool art. How someone could imagine any of that being UFO related is REALLY reaching!

posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 06:36 AM
Mother Nature laughs at our poor human efforts at art. Thanks for some very uplifting photos.

posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 06:42 AM
Couple of questions from a newbie.

What does a sticky mean? Can I find this thread easily? Which is really why I'm posting here, because I want to use some of these pictures when we study weather at school.

Thanks so much, Oz, for the wonderful information! Very interesting, fascinating, and educational!

Have a wonderful day, All!

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