Clouds got in my way

Kudos to Matthew Cobb for recently sending me a bunch of nice links. And here, thanks to his detective work, are a few photos from “An atlas of incredible clouds” at Wired.co.uk.  Go look at the larger versions (they’d make great screensavers); there are seven, and I’ll show four (all photos credited to “Rex Features”).

Noctilucent cloud:

Lenticular cloud, Mauna Kea, Hawaii (these are my favorite clouds):

Supercell thunderstorm:

Cumulonimbus cloud over western Africa:

29 Comments

  1. Posted September 9, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    If that first one isn’t a space launch, I’ll eat my hat.

    Some good photographs of impressive phenomena, certainly.

    b&

    • Posted September 9, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      Well it isn’t a natural noctilucent cloud in any case. Rocket launch looks like an obvious explanation, and I guess one could argue that then it would be an artificial noctilucent cloud…

      I think there’s also some evidence that noctilucent clouds have become more common after the start of the space era, but I don’t have any reference on hand.

    • Posted September 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      sciencephotolibrary Caption:-

      Artificial cloud. View of a spectacular noctilucent cloud after sunset. This “cloud” was formed from the exhaust of a missile launched from a distant firing range. Noctilucent clouds are those which reflect the Sun’s light after it has set, which requires that they be at high altitude. The uppermost parts of this cloud are iridescent (nacreous), having the appearance of mother-of- pearl. Natural nacreous clouds occur at altitudes of 20-25 kilometres. The lower parts of this cloud are redder due to the scattering of blue light by the large amount of dust and water in the lower atmosphere. Its convoluted shape is due to the differing wind speeds at different altitudes.

      • Posted September 9, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        <whew />

        Thanks!

        Glad I don’t have to go out and buy a hat, just to eat it….

        Cheers,

        b&

        • Achrachno
          Posted September 9, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

          You live in AZ and don’t already own 6 big ones?

          • Posted September 9, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

            No, I’ve only got two big ones.

            Oh — you mean hats. Sorry….

            Never did like hats. I grew up in Northern California and only came here to go to school. As with virtually everybody else in Arizona, even those born here, I’m not a native, you see….

            b&

  2. Posted September 9, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    The second one must be a UFO :)
    Beautiful phenomena, wonderful photography.

    • abrotherhoodofman
      Posted September 9, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      Sure, provide cover for the extraterrestrial invasion by giving up a token fall guy.

      Now deny that you work for the CIA.

      • Posted September 9, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        Is the CIA still employing? I sure wouldn’t mind a job with them if I don’t have to tell anyone where and for who I work!

        • abrotherhoodofman
          Posted September 9, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

          Denial noted.

        • Posted September 9, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

          The SIS are busy looking, though to really ‘get on’ an old fashioned & mostly defunct “whom” still beats “who” ~ along with a private education, money & an easy familiarity with 8 Herbert Crescent & 37 St James’s Street :)

    • Posted September 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      If we didn’t know it was a light-fixture, I’d have said Adamski modelled his on one of those.

  3. Nal
    Posted September 9, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Both Sides Now reference noted.

    • Marlene Zuk
      Posted September 9, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I was sure I would be the only one . . .

      • Posted September 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

        I thought everyone would get it.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted September 10, 2012 at 12:41 am | Permalink

          I subconsciously assumed it was so well known there was nothing to ‘get’ – a bit like ‘methinks it is like a weasel’ or suchlike.

          Or maybe my brain was just idling along in neutral as usual…

  4. abrotherhoodofman
    Posted September 9, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I think the last one is God’s giant Communion wafer, reminding all of us to eat his son’s body.

    It’s Sunday, after all.

  5. Steve Bowen
    Posted September 9, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    You know? I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now, but still somehow…I really don’t know clouds at all.

    • Marella
      Posted September 9, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Are you sure you tried up AND down?

  6. still learning
    Posted September 9, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    “like a floating question why”

    Cloudy by Simon and Garfunkle

  7. M Janello
    Posted September 9, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always loved the names that are given to clouds, so we should all give thanks to Luke Howard, an Englishman who lived in the late 18th- early 19th-centuries, who first tried to classify and name them:

    http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/fgz/science/clouds.php

    I mean, really, what’s not to love about the word ‘cumulonimbus’?

  8. Posted September 9, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    The lenticular cloud is captioned as having been photographed on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. There’s snow on Mauna Kea?

    • Posted September 9, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      Mauna Kea Ski Resort Webcam

      Wiki :-

      The summits of the five volcanoes of Hawaii are revered as sacred mountains; and Mauna Kea’s summit, being the highest, is one of the most sacred. For this reason, a kapu (ancient Hawaiian law) restricted visitor rights to high-ranking tribal chiefs. Hawaiians associated elements of their natural environment with particular deities. In Hawaiian mythology, the sky father Wākea marries the earth mother Pāpā, giving birth to the Hawaiian Islands. In many of these genealogical myths, Mauna Kea is portrayed as the pair’s first-born son. The summit of Mauna Kea was seen as the “region of the gods”, a place where benevolent spirits reside. Poliʻahu, deity of snow, also resides there. In Hawaiian, Mauna Kea means “white mountain”, a reference to its summit, which is usually snow-capped in winter. The mountain is also known as Mauna o Wākea (“Mountain of [the deity] Wākea”)

      • Posted September 10, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        Thanks so much for that link. I was just plain ignorant of that aspect of the Hawaiian environment. Too many volcanic eruption pictures, I guess.

  9. Susan
    Posted September 10, 2012 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    That first cloud picture is the vapor trail from a rocket launch — I’ve seen similar off Vandenberg AFB in California.

  10. sunyavadi
    Posted September 10, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    If the religions were as you understand them to be, nobody ever would have believed them.

    • sunyavadi
      Posted September 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      this might have actually been appended to the wrong column. It was directed at the John Haught criticism.


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