View Full Version : tricks of light

08-26-2006, 07:37 AM

08-26-2006, 06:56 PM
Sundogs pretty frequently. When they're really bright you can see a sort of rainbow look to them; same with the lunar equivalent, which I've seen a few times.

The other stuff I've never encountered, but I do recall my family's car driving through two sun showers in a row when I was around 12. The sun was out, not a cloud in the sky as I recall, but we drove through two very localized spots of rain--I'm talking less than 10 yards across each. I remember it so well I could point out the exact stretch of road we were on.

08-27-2006, 01:12 AM
thanks kindly, saanen. so, sun dogs have little rainbows in them?
very very cool. glad you told me, I'll use it someday.
frankly I aint surprised you havent seen any others...
most of them are cold-weather phenomena.
say Hi to the smokeys for me.

08-27-2006, 02:48 AM
The rainbow colors are really washed out--they're not bright colors at all. For all I know it's just a trick of my eyes, but I don't think so.

I moved up north to PA a few months ago, so maybe I'll see some of those cold-weather phenomena this winter.

08-27-2006, 02:52 AM
Mmmm, don't count on it. I go winter-hiking in North-Central Pa all the time, and I have only seeen a few sun arcs and one moon halo.
They usually happen near the Arctic circle.
Where in Pa are you?

08-27-2006, 12:45 PM
I've often seen the aurora borealis and several times seen the aurora australis. Difficult to find words for them as they are so different.

The aurora borealis in Northern Canada is those fantastic greenish-yellow swirls of light spiralling across the vast stretch of sky. Silent firework display is the nearest I can get to explain it.

The aurora australis is so different. I see it in NZ occasionally so as I'm not close to its source it doesn't cover the whole sky as it does down in Antarctica. Part of the night sky takes a pink glow like a pink sunset, then searchlights of clear white light beam through the pink. It sounds less amazing than it is. The blackness of the sky around it gives the colours intensity.

08-27-2006, 05:16 PM
Mmmm, don't count on it. I go winter-hiking in North-Central Pa all the time, and I have only seeen a few sun arcs and one moon halo.
They usually happen near the Arctic circle.
Where in Pa are you?

I'm near Pittsburgh. I'm not looking forward to winter--I'm from the East Tenn. valley and don't even own a winter coat (that's on my shopping list for next week!).

Edit: I've been thinking, and I don't know if this light phenomenon even has a real name, but my family calls it "technicolor." It generally happens in spring after a storm, when suddenly the light outside is BRILLIANT without glaring, and colors seem to glow. It's the most awesome spectacle I can imagine. I'm sure it has something to do with the way the light is refracting through clouds. It's rare but not all that rare; I reckon I've seen it on average once every three or four years.

L M Ashton
08-27-2006, 10:10 PM
I lived a lot of years in Canada's north, and saw a LOT of northern lights in that time. Personally, while I saw green and yellow, I also saw pink and purple and the occasional almost blue.

One way to describe it is perpendicular lines of colored light, duplicated beside itself a hundred times, all moving around and dancing. Some patches would be one color, another patch another, and so on.

08-30-2006, 06:36 PM
We've seen the northern lights as search-light beams, rippling curtains and one time, it looked like a roll of fabric across the sky.

We often see a ring around the moon. A full ring quite a ways out. Rather pale. This means a big change in the weather. Can mean a storm.

We see sun-dogs as pieces of rainbow on either side of the sun in the west, shining through high thin (cirrous?) clouds. This also can mean a change. Sometimes a storm.

Last week a tornado went through about 90 miles away. We saw storm clouds and in the clear the sky was green. Very creepy.