Amazing Atmospheric Spectacular
Martin McKenna
  Maghera, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Photo Title
  Amazing Atmospheric Spectacular
Time and Date taken
  11th May 2005 1600hrs to sunset
Equipment used
  Camera handheld and tripod
Capturing device used
  Fuji Finepix E510 3Megapixel Digital Camera
Technical details
  ISO80/Auto Mode

Today has been amazing for atmospheric phenomena. At 16.00 I looked up into the sky and for the first time I seen a rainbow coloured upper tangent arc 25*above the sun and about 25* in length and very bright. After my eyes adjusted to the glare I looked at the zenith and spotted yet another phenomenon that I had never seen before...a circumzenithal Arc! It was also bright; rainbow coloured and curved upwards like a smile! After 30 mins I was shown another atmospheric treasure, low in the south below the sun was a rainbow coloured lower tangent arc which was curved downwards. As if this could not get any better after some time 2 very bright sundogs appeared 22* east and west of the sun and also where rainbow coloured, bright and elongated vertically and slightly curved at the tips. These where visible all day then in the late evening a solar halo appeared which fully connected up with the sundogs then to surprise me further the sundogs grew bright tails that pointed away from the sun which was the indication that I was observing sections of a parhelic circle! The eastern sundog had a long bright white structured cirrus cloud hanging from its eastern side giving the impression of a great sun grazing comet with the parhelia as the coma. What a incredible display, overall I seen sundogs, solar halo, upper and lower tangent arcs, a circumzenithal arc and a parhelic circle all at the same time! Then for the icing on the cake a faint golden 5* high solar pillar appeared before sunset. I have never seen the half of these phenomena before but I got them altogether at the same moment. I took MANY images and did several sketches.

Congratulations Martin on some textbook images of atmospheric phenomena, amazing stuff! for an explanation of some of these phenomena, check out Atmospheric Optics.



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