A sun dog or sundog, meaning “beside the sun”, is an atmospheric phenomenon that creates bright spots of light in the sky, often on a luminous ring or halo on either side of the sun.
Sundogs are made commonly of plate-shaped hexagonal ice crystals in high and cold cirrus clouds or, during very cold weather, by ice crystals called diamond dust drifting in the air at low levels. These crystals act as prisms, bending the light rays passing through them with a minimum deflection of 22°. If the crystals are randomly oriented, a complete ring around the sun is seen — a halo. But often, as the crystals sink through the air they become vertically aligned, so sunlight is refracted horizontally — in this case, sundogs are seen.
2. Sailing Stone
Sailing stones, sliding rocks, and moving rocks all refer to a geological phenomenon where rocks move in long tracks along a smooth valley floor without human or animal intervention. They have been recorded and studied in a number of places around Racetrack Playa, Death Valley, where the number and length of travel grooves are notable. The force behind their movement is not confirmed and is the subject of research.
The stones move only every two or three years and most tracks develop over three or four years. Stones with rough bottoms leave straight striated tracks while those with smooth bottoms wander. Stones sometimes turn over, exposing another edge to the ground and leaving a different track in the stone’s wake.
Trails differ in both direction and length. Rocks that start next to each other may travel parallel for a time, before one abruptly changes direction to the left, right, or even back the direction it came from. Trail length also varies – two similarly sized and shaped rocks may travel uniformly, then one could move ahead or stop in its track.
3. Circumhorizontal Arc Rainbow
A circumhorizontal arc is an optical phenomenon – an ice-halo formed by plate-shaped ice crystals in high level cirrus clouds. The current accepted names are circumhorizon arc or lower symmetric 46° plate arc.The complete halo is a huge, multi-coloured band running parallel to the horizon with its center beneath the sun. The distance below the sun is twice as far as the common 22-degree halo. Red is the uppermost colour. Often, when the halo-forming cloud is small or patchy, only fragments of the arc are seen.
How often a circumhorizontal arc is seen depends on the location and the latitude. In the United States it is a relatively common halo seen several times each summer in any one place. In contrast, it is rare to non-observable in northern Europe.
A light pillar is a visual phenomenon created by the reflection of light from ice crystals with near horizontal parallel planar surfaces. The light can come from the Sun (usually at or low to the horizon) in which case the phenomenon is called a sun pillar or solar pillar. It can also come from the Moon or from terrestrial sources such as streetlights.
Light pillars are a kind of optical phenomenon which is formed by the reflection of sunlight or moonlight by ice crystals that are present in the Earth’s atmosphere.
5. Mammatus cloud
Mammatus,meaning “mammary cloud” or “breast cloud”), is a meteorological term applied to a cellular pattern of pouches hanging underneath the base of a cloud. The name mammatus, derived from the Latin mamma (meaning “udder” or “breast”), refers to a resemblance between the characteristic shape of these clouds and the breast of a woman.(LOL!!)
6. Blue Hole [Sinkholes]
|SinkHole Courtesy Bing.com|
A blue hole is a cave (inland) or underwater sinkhole. They are also called vertical caves. There are many different blue holes located around the world, typically in low-lying coastal regions. Blue holes are roughly circular, steep-walled depressions, and so named for the dramatic contrast between the dark blue, deep waters of their depths and the lighter blue of the shallows around them. Their water circulation is poor, and they are commonly anoxic below a certain depth; this environment is unfavorable for most sea life, but nonetheless can support large numbers of bacteria. The deep blue color is caused by the high transparency of water and bright white carbonate sand. Blue light is the most enduring part of the spectrum; where other parts of the spectrum—red, yellow, and finally green—are absorbed during their path through water, blue light manages to reach the white sand and return back upon reflection.
7. Hexagonal Basalt Columns
Due to the volcanic activity, basalt-the most common type of rock, depending on the type of lava flow and how it cools, basalt may form characteristic shapes, like these impressive hexagonal columns.
During the cooling of a thick lava flow, contractional joints or fractures form. If a flow cools relatively rapidly, significant contraction forces build up. While a flow can shrink in the vertical dimension without fracturing, it cannot easily accommodate shrinking in the horizontal direction unless cracks form; the extensive fracture network that develops results in the formation of columns. The topology of the lateral shapes of these columns can broadly be classed as a random cellular network. These structures are often erroneously described as being predominantly hexagonal. In reality, the mean number of sides of all the columns in such a structure is indeed six (by geometrical definition), but polygons with three to twelve or more sides can be observed.
Lenticular clouds are stationary lens-shaped clouds that form at high altitudes, normally aligned perpendicular to the wind direction. Due to their shape, they are often mistaken for Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs).
Where stable moist air flows over a mountain or a range of mountains, a series of large-scale standing waves may form on the downwind side. If the temperature at the crest of the wave drops to the dew point, moisture in the air may condense to form lenticular clouds. As the moist air moves back down into the trough of the wave, the cloud may evaporate back into vapor. Under certain conditions, long strings of lenticular clouds can form near the crest of each successive wave, creating a formation known as a ‘wave cloud.’ The wave systems cause large vertical air movements and so enough water vapor may condense to produce precipitation. The clouds have been mistaken for UFOs (or “visual cover” for UFOs) because these clouds have a characteristic lens appearance and smooth saucer-like shape. Bright colors (called Irisation) are sometimes seen along the edge of lenticular clouds
A fire whirl, colloquially fire devil or fire tornado, is a phenomenon—rarely captured on camera—in which a fire, under certain conditions (depending on air temperature and currents), acquires a vertical vorticity and forms a whirl, or a tornado-like vertically oriented rotating column of air. Fire whirls may be whirlwinds separated from the flames, either within the burn area or outside it, or a vortex of flame, itself.
10. Penitentes Ice Blades
Penitentes, or nieves penitentes (“penitente-shaped snows”, are a snow formation found at high altitudes. They take the form of tall thin blades of hardened snow or ice closely spaced with the blades oriented towards the general direction of the sun. Penitentes can be as tall as a person.