Tag Archives: cloud

Behold: an Icelandic lighthouse being assimilated by the Borg. Not really. To wit:

Auroras usually occur high above the clouds. The auroral glow is created when fast-moving particles ejected from the Sun impact the Earth’s magnetosphere, from which charged particles spiral along the Earth’s magnetic field to strike atoms and molecules high in the Earth’s atmosphere. An oxygen atom, for example, will glow in the green light commonly emitted by an aurora after being energised by such a collision. The lowest part of an aurora will typically occur about 100 kilometres up, while most clouds exist only below about 10 kilometres. The relative heights of clouds and auroras are shown clearly in the featured picture in 2015 from Dyrholaey, Iceland. There, a determined astrophotographer withstood high winds and initially overcast skies in an attempt to capture aurora over a picturesque lighthouse, only to take, by chance, the featured picture including elongated lenticular clouds, along the way.

(Image: Daniele Boffelli)

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Behold: a vast hexagonal cloud formation over Saturn’s northern hemisphere. First discovered by Voyager in the 1980s and subsequently observed by Cassini, nothing like it has been found elsewhere in the solar system. To wit:

Acquiring its first sunlit views of far northern Saturn in late 2012, the Cassini spacecraft’s wide-angle camera recorded this stunning, false-colour image of the ringed planet’s north pole. The composite of near-infrared image data results in red hues for low clouds and green for high ones, giving the Saturnian cloudscape a vivid appearance. This and similar images show the stability of the hexagon even 20+ years after Voyager. Movies of Saturn’s North Pole show the cloud structure maintaining its hexagonal structure while rotating. Unlike individual clouds appearing like a hexagon on Earth, the Saturn cloud pattern appears to have six well defined sides of nearly equal length. Four Earths could fit inside the hexagon. Beyond the cloud tops at the upper right, arcs of the planet’s eye-catching rings appear bright blue.

(Image: NASA, ESA, JPL, SSI, Cassini Imaging Team)

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This evening.

Enniscorthy, County Wexford.

God’s finger?

A sky submarine?

Lens smudge?

We may never know.

UPDATE:

Annd, it’s a funnel cloud.

The Abyss – that’s what NASA is calling this unusually dark cloud feature observed by the Juno probe during its latest pass over Jupiter. To wit:

Surrounding cloud patterns show the Abyss to be at the center of a vortex. Since dark features on Jupiter’s atmosphere tend to run deeper than light features, the Abyss may really be the deep hole that it appears — but without more evidence that remains conjecture. The Abyss is surrounded by a complex of meandering clouds and other swirling storm systems, some of which are topped by light coloured, high-altitude clouds. The featured image was captured last month while Juno passed only about 15,000 kilometres above Jupiter’s cloud tops. The next close pass of Juno near Jupiter will be in July.

(Image: NASAJunoSwRIMSSSProcessing & LicenseGerald Eichstädt & Sean Doran)

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