Monday, January 17, 2011

Big Sky Part II

Winter is a good time to watch the sky. Tiny ice crystals in the clouds refract and reflect sunlight which frequently results in lovely halos and sundogs. You can see these on days when the sun is shining and there are a few clouds about, especially thin cirrus clouds. I am not a scientist or an expert so for good information on atmospheric events please check out , it's well worth it.
You don't have to be anywhere special to see these, simply look at the sky and check out the areas around the sun but please never look directly at the sun, use your hand or other object to block it off. Also never look at the sun through binoculars, camera lens or telescope as it could easily damage your eyes instantly, so be safe!

The other day while a passenger in a car, I was treated to 2 large sundogs, which look like portions of rainbow on one or both sides of the sun, as above.

Other things to watch for from anywhere are early morning views of the sun or of the rising moon. The sun rises and sets every day and the moon appears every month, so just find a spot where you can watch. No need to spend thousands on a trip to sit and watch these events when they happen everywhere for free! I've enjoyed spectacular sunrises while a passenger on many commutes. Too often we miss enjoying the beauty of these everyday events because we are too busy...

 Misty sunrise.
Full moon.
A partially cloudy day offers another opportunity to see beauty in the sky.The sun's rays sneaking through the clouds make a magnificent spectacle.

Here is an atmospheric event most people are unaware of: seeing the earth's shadow at twilight. For this you need to have a pretty good view of the eastern horizon. As the sun sets, a darkish band rises on the eastern horizon. This is the shadow of the earth reflected on the atmosphere. To read more about this please check out this site: . Lots of interesting stuff on that site.

Faint dark band at the horizon is earth's shadow at twilight.

The sky...ever changing...look up!

1 comment:

  1. Amazing photos!!! I always look at the sky when walking to and from work. I LOVE it! Tonight the moon is nearly full, it is cold and crisp. It was beautiful! But your pictures capture the beauty amazingly! :)