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Just look up and you will see...

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posted on Jun, 14 2013 @ 06:30 PM
Just look up and you will see... many common atmospheric-optical (and just plain "atmospheric") phenomena that are often mistakenly thought of as being rare.

Let me start by saying I saw my first sun dog back in 2005 which is when I first became interested in looking for and photographing halos, arcs, and other weather related phenomena. Up until then I had not paid much attention to the daytime sky, although I had been interested in astronomy (especially observing/photographing meteors) since 1998, as well as sunset photography and general nature photography.

It was a gradual process of becoming aware for me - learning when/where to look and understanding what conditions were favorable for observing halos/arcs, but within a few months I was starting to see more halos, and I was surprised at just how common halos were. It was not uncommon for me to see a few displays of halos/arcs per week if I had the time to look.

What I found was that the more time I spent looking, the more I saw, which is hardly surprising, but it definitely helped knowing how to look for halos/arcs, and there is always an element of luck that plays a part.

Since then I've observed and photographed hundreds of halos/arcs, but we moved house last year so there has not been time up until recently to look for them. In the last couple of months, now that the dust has started to settle I've tried to have my cameras ready whenever I've been out and about. Here is a "diary" of what I've managed to photograph since the start of May this year:

060513 - I caught this upper 22° circular halo fragment:

Later on I caught a lower fragment:

070513 - A faint 22° circular halo:

100513 - We were in the middle of cooking dinner when my partner spotted these mammatus clouds and I had to scramble to get a shot before they disappeared:

16-170513 - There were a couple of bright iridium satellite flares predicted on this night, so I set up a camera and waited. The first was a bright -7.2 magnitude flare from Iridium 31:

The second was a super bright -8.2 magnitude flare from Iridium 34:

Note that each shot is a composite of a few short exposures, hence the gaps in the trail which are due to the camera being in between exposures.

Since I had a camera out I decided to leave it running and see if I caught any meteors - I did catch a small one, but as usual not the best that I observed:

180513 - 22° circular halo:

190513 - 22° circular halo:

210513 - The day's display started off with a faint 22° circular halo:

After that a sun dog appeared to the left of the Sun:

Sun dog to the right of the Sun a little later on after the above shot:

There was also a faint circumzenithal arc visible:

Here is the same image with the saturation grossly increased to help bring out the circumzenithal arc:

230513 - Faint 22° circular halo:

290513 - Faint 22° circular halo:

020613 - A nice colourful sun dog to the right of the Sun:

Then later to the left:

With fragments of halo just before the Sun disappeared behind the hill:

050613 - Caught a nice display of altocumulus castelanus clouds AKA "jellyfish clouds":

100613 - Just before dawn I noticed these Noctilucent clouds:

Later on in the evening I caught this 22° circular halo fragment:

There was also a circumzenithal arc:

110613 - Another faint circumzenithal arc:

Here is the same image with the saturation grossly increased to help bring out the circumzenithal arc:

And later on that same day I also photographed this iridescent cloud:

So you can see most of these phenomena are relatively common, especially sun dogs, 22° circular halos, and circumzenithal arcs. I also see iridescent clouds all the time - perhaps on average every other day if I'm looking, although photographing a nice display can be tricky since they are constantly changing/moving. I have literally hundreds of examples.

Mammatus, "jelly fish" clouds, and noctilucent clouds are not quite as common as the aforementioned phenomena, but if you keep looking at the right times you'll eventually see them.

Meteors or even fireballs can be seen if you are patient too, and Iridium flares are very predictable.

I don't live close to the Cascadian Subduction Zone or any other area prone to earthquakes, and as I mentioned I have been seeing these so called "rare" phenomena for many years, so I very much doubt there is any connection there or to "methane in the atmosphere". It's well known that halos and arcs are caused by sunlight shining through specifically shaped water ice crystals that make up high altitude (usually - although there are exceptions) clouds. When the crystals are mostly orientated the same way the halos/arcs that are observed are much more visible and brightly coloured than when the ice crystals are not well orientated, and uniformity of the shape of the crystals also plays a big role in this.

Under the right conditions halos/arcs can be very pronounced, and in actually rare cases complex displays can have much less common halos/arcs contributing to the display than those I have mentioned here.

Examples of complex displays can be found here, here, here, and here. Particular rare halos and arcs can also appear on their own as well as being part of a rare display, so keep an eye out and a camera handy!

It's also not true that ice halos/arcs are any more frequent now than they were in the past in my own experience, and there are records of displays from many many years back:

The Dutch weather amateurs journal Onweders, Optische verschijnselen, that was published

between 1880-1961 contains plenty of observations of atmospheric optical phenomena.

(scroll down towards the bottom of the page)
edit on 14-6-2013 by FireballStorm because: (no reason given)

edit on 14-6-2013 by FireballStorm because: typos/ommisions

posted on Jun, 14 2013 @ 06:41 PM
Continued from previous post as I had problems with the formatting...

It also includes observations of moon halos (or "Wreaths").

Nogmaals wordt er op gewezen, dat de krans om de zon, zoowel als die om de maan, uit min of meer gekleurde cirkels bestaat. Is de cirkelvorm niet te herkennen, dan is het verschijnsel green krans.Omtrent kransen om de maan zijn van 51 stations 363 berichten ontvangen, -- welke in table X zijn samengevoegd, -- over 112 dagen verdeeld.

Google translation:
Again it is pointed out that the halo around the sun, the moon as well as those from more or less colored circles. The circle shape is not recognized, then the phenomenon of green garland.Wreaths on the moon 51 stations of 363 messages - which are combined in table X, - spread over 112 days.

click here and scroll down to p56

Terwijl te Nijmegen de maan van 9.15-9.22 n.m. door Ci. Cu. bedekt was, werd behalve de kring ook een boogje met de bolle zijde naar de maan gekeerd gezien. Sporen van de vertikale kolom door de maan werden te Terbregge van 7-7.10 n.m.en te 's Gravenhage van 7.4-7.10 n.m. waargenomen.

Google translation:
While in Nijmegen's moon 9.15-9.22 nm Ci. Cu. was covered, but the circle was also an arch with the convex side facing the moon seen. Traces of the vertical column by the moon were to Terbregge nmen 7-7.10 of the Hague of 7.4-7.10 nm was observed.

click here and scroll down to p53

Unfortunately the above links (which I posted a few years back here on ATS) are now gone, but at least I saved/translated the few quotes above.

The people who are saying that halos are occurring more frequently now are all novices with little or no experience of the subject, and as I said before, it is natural that as you gain more experience, as well as spending more time looking, you will see more than you saw before. It happened to me 8 years ago, and these people are experiencing the same thing.

Anyone can go out and look for these phenomena, and if they are patient they will start to see more than they have done in the past. Try it for yourself, and have your own personal revelation, but please don't have the arrogance/ignorance to assume what you are seeing is something that has not been seen before

posted on Jun, 14 2013 @ 07:13 PM
Thats a nice collection of photos you got there.

Heres one i took.

Can you tell me what it is?

posted on Jun, 14 2013 @ 07:34 PM
reply to post by ElOmen

ElOmen - what you have there is a classic example of iridescent clouds. Good catch

As in your shot, they can often be found close to the Sun. Keep looking when you see clouds passing close to the Sun, and you will see them all the time, although much of the time the colors are quite subtle. Thicker clouds are also often edged with iridescent colors when they are near the Sun, but do take care when looking close to the Sun!

posted on Jun, 14 2013 @ 07:36 PM
"So you can see most of these phenomena are relatively common"

they are now.

posted on Jun, 14 2013 @ 08:29 PM
reply to post by FireballStorm

To me it looks like there's a death looking figure right above the sun in my photo.

Can you see it?

posted on Jun, 15 2013 @ 06:29 AM

Originally posted by RoScoLaz
"So you can see most of these phenomena are relatively common"

they are now.

Are you suggesting that I'm lying or deluded or hallucinating?

If so, based on what? Your own experience? The experience of the inexperienced people who are saying that they were not common before? Something you have read on the interweb?

Would you also say the phenomena featured in the following video is more common and there is some conspiracy connected with it:


posted on Jun, 15 2013 @ 06:56 AM
reply to post by ElOmen

Yes I can see a blob of cloud that looks a bit like a figure. I often see clouds that resemble other things, but I usually don't go out of my way to photograph them unless they are exceptional examples.

Here's one from May 2011 with a cloud that looks like a dolphin:

posted on Jun, 15 2013 @ 07:07 AM
reply to post by FireballStorm

Great post

So true!

The more you look, the more you see

posted on Jun, 21 2013 @ 07:50 PM
Thanks for your comment/support Lady_Tuatha.

Another one to add today. I caught this nice circumzenithal arc earlier on.

A sun dog was also present at one point, but with the winds being strong today, it was soon obstructed by low altitude clouds.

There were also some very strong iridescent clouds, and a partial 22° circular halo while I was in town, but I didn't have a camera at the time.

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