Atmospheric Optics

Parhelia (Sun Dogs)

Sun dogs are a common bright circular spot on a solar halo. It is an atmospheric optical phenomenon primarily associated with the reflection or refraction of sunlight by small ice crystals making up cirrus or cirrostratus clouds. Often, two sun dogs can be seen (one on each side of the sun) simultaneously.

Jim Burchell’s Images

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Terry Miles’ Images

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Honor Wheeler’s Images

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Noctilucent Cloud

Noctilucent clouds are phenomena seen during the summer twilight (June and July for the northern hemisphere and December and January for the southern). It is caused by sunlight striking stratus clouds at a height of around 82km.

Honor Wheeler’s Images

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Simon Dawes’ Images

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Martin Crow’s Images

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Multiple Phenomena

If you are observant you will occasionally be rewarded with multiple phenomena in the sky as these images by members show.

Martin Crow’s Images

MVCrow Sky UTArc, sun dogs and halo sm 5th June 2014

Honor Wheeler’s Images

Atmospheric Optic Picture of the Day

Our very own Honor Wheeler makes Optics Picture of the Day (20/03/2010) at the world renowned site for extra special atmospheric optics. “I live in Kent, in the Southeast of England and so don’t usually expect complexity in a halo display as the conditions are never quit right. Today, however, I was amazed and excited to photograph sundogs, a partial 22deg halo, an upper tangent arc, a Parry arc, circumzenithal arc and a partial supralateral arc. I’ve photographed all but the supralateral arc separately before but never all together! These photos were taken between 15.34 and 15.41UT but overall the display lasted for approx 20 minutes with the circumzenithal arc lasting the longest.”

If you have HaloSim installed, run the simulation yourself after downloading the simulation file kent.sim

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All images are copyright. Permission must be sought to from the image owner to the use of any of these images.