Sunday, August 16, 2009

Circumzenithal Arc

With all the trees in our neighborhood it is usually difficult to see anything in the sky, unless you are looking straight up. However, this evening I took the dogs out for a walk a few minutes past 6:00pm and was treated to a glorious display in the sky - two sundogs, an ice halo, and a circumzenithal arc! Wow, say that three times fast!

Anyway, sundogs, also called mock suns, are what essentially look like mini suns that appear on the left and right sides of the sun. Sometimes you may only see one, but this evening I was blessed to see them on both sides of the sun. And as you can just barely see from one of the photographs (upper right), there is a faint halo surrounding the sun and connecting the sundogs.

But the coolest thing to see was the circumzenithal arc above the sun! The circumzenithal arc (CZA) is what looks sort of like an upside-down rainbow. CZA's are formed by sunlight refracting through ice crystals that are flattened out, and floating horizontally through the sky. These types of crystals are called plate crystals.

It was a most beautiful site this afternoon, and I am sorry to say, these pictures do not do justice to "sky show" just above our heads. Unfortunately I do not have a wide-angle lens for my camera. If I had, I think I could have gotten a picture of the CZA "floating" above the sun and sundogs. Truly an awesome sight!
One note - the "specs" in the one photo of the CZA (lower left) is not dust on the camera lens. They are turkey vultures that have begun to frequent our neighborhood!



It is hard to see the sundogs, I have never heard of such a thing, but wow what an incredible site to see those CZR's (? right?). Amazing. It really does fill you with awe and wonder!! Thanks for sharing!




Wow! Never heard nor seen a CZA but what a beautiful divine sight! If the rainbow is a symbol for God's covenant promise to never flood the earth again, I wonder what CZA could mean??? Hmmmmm . . . something to ponder!

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