Category Archives: Nature

Stitched Panorama

Alien flora? Well that depends on where you’re from. To wit:

Found on the Canary Island of Tenerife in the Teide National Park, red tajinastes are flowering plants that grow to a height of up to 3 metres. Among the rocks of the volcanic terrain, tajinastes bloom in spring and early summer and then die after a week or so as their seeds mature. A species known as Echium wildpretii, the terrestrial life forms were individually lit by flashlight during the wide-angle exposures.

(Image: Daniel Lopez (El Cielo de Canarias)


(…all the way)

Not quite.

Actually, an ice halo photographed over Dublin, Ohio, in 2009. To wit:

The reason here is that ice crystals in distant cirrus clouds are acting like little floating prisms. Sometimes known as a fire rainbow for its flame-like appearance, a circumhorizon arc lies parallel to the horizon. For a circumhorizontal arc to be visible, the Sun must be at least 58 degrees high in a sky where cirrus clouds are present. Furthermore, the numerous, flat, hexagonal ice-crystals that compose the cirrus cloud must be aligned horizontally to properly refract sunlight in a collectively similar manner. Therefore, circumhorizontal arcs are quite unusual to see.

(Image:Todd Sladoje)


The Northern Lights shine above the frozen surface of Lake Superior on the west coast of the Keweenaw Peninusla in a 10 shot panorama captured over the space of three hours at the start of this month. To wit:

 At left, a faint band of Zodiacal light rises sharply from the horizon crossing Mars and the Pleides star cluster. Both the distant galaxy M31 and our own Milky Way shine above the greenish auroral arc. Navigational north pole star Polaris is centered above and accompanied on the right by the northern night’s most recognizable asterism, the Big Dipper. Terrestrial lights include markers for two breakwaters on the the horizon near the center of the scene.

Full resolution image here.

(Image: Lorenzo Ranieri Tenti)


A rare form of lightning called ‘red sprites’ (only confirmed 30 years ago) observed earlier this month at Kununurra in Western Australia. To wit:

100-meter balls of ionized air shoot down from about 80-km high at 10 percent the speed of light and are quickly followed by a group of upward streaking ionized balls. Red sprites take only a fraction of a second to occur and are best seen when powerful thunderstorms are visible from the side.

(Pic: Ben Broady)