Sunday, March 23, 2014

Halos, Arcs, and a Walk

In February the skies were uniformly gray. Most of March, they have been endlessly blue. For an atmospheric optic lover, it has been a long stretch of time without having to run for the camera for a quick shot of something beautifully ephemeral. Then this happened.

What is this? It's a supralateral arc with a circumzenithal arc above; it's a 22 degree halo with some other kind of arc shining off the top of it. Ooh. I was really really happy to see this. I couldn't stop running outside to look up, even though I was in the middle of preparing food for dear friends who were coming to visit to take a nice long walk with us. Yes, I ran outside again. The upper supralateral and circumzenithal arcs had disappeared, but I saw this.
Oooh, this sight made me dancing-happy (like that Pharrell Williams song). Oh yes. This is the kind of thing I would run outside and let food burn on the stove for, luckily it didn't come to that! I know that we are looking at a 22 degree halo here, but it's the other stuff that's a bit more tricky. I think there's an upper tangent arc and very faintly a parhelic circle with the hint of a sundog on the right. This was truly one of the best arcs and halos moments I have ever experienced.

Our friends arrived for lunch and a walk. We took one of our local ditch walks right out the door. We love when we don't have to get into the car to take a hike. We call this the upper ditch because we do have to walk quite a bit uphill to get here.
There were native plants blooming along the trail. Like this Sierra Gooseberry (Ribes roezlii).
And this Giant Trillium called a Wakerobin (Trillium angustipetalum).
We had a wonderful walk with good friends under a dazzling blue sky. We sure do love a happy-dancing kind of day like this!

20 comments:

  1. oh, how gorgeous!

    the bloom on that trillium reminded me of the infamous corpse flower, but apparently they aren't that closely related.

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  2. maybe this week we will see if a walk near us has trilliums yet. They come in several colors but I think we are behind you for when they will come there.

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  3. No better way to spend a day!! A happy-dancing day indeed!! Thanks for sharing the beauty!!

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  4. I sure wish I could see the world through your eyes.

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  5. kathy a-- I hadn' t thought of the corpse flower, but I know what you mean. I'd love to see one of those! So glad you liked the pics.

    Rain-- We mostly see the red trillium here. I do remember seeing other colors in Oregon and Washington. I hope you'll take pics when you see them blooming there.

    Sylvia-- So glad you liked these photos. It really was a happy dancing kind of day. My favorite kind!

    Pablo-- If you saw the world through my eyes, you would see beauty like this, but you would also see a lot of pain in the world. I only post the pretty things, so I thank you for noticing.

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  6. Wow! Splendid sky. What a lovely trail. Thank you so much.

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  7. That was very nice. In the last few weeks I have seen cloud conditions near sunset that I thought might produce some halos or arcs, but no.

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  8. am-- Glad you liked the pics. It was a very good day!

    Mark-- Have you been checking the Atmospheric Optics website? Les Cowley has been posting some amazing arc and halo photos. We don't get to see the sun set here, too many tall trees and hills to the west, so all of these sights are mid morning, looking east. I can't wait to have a fuller view of the sky.

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  9. Cool sky shots. And funny, when we were visiting family in South Carolina, there was a photo of those trilliums on a trail sign. They call them Sweet Betsy down in that neck of the woods.

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  10. Now I'm sure of it: your part of the world just has better meteorological phenomena than mine. It's not that I'm not observant--these phenomena just don't occur here in the humid, overcast East--at least not in the frequency in which they do in northern California. Nice images of spring, too; we're going to get more snow tomorrow!

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  11. I have just got to quit looking where I put my feet. You see the darndest things in the sky. Amazing shots.
    What a nice get together. Lunch and a walk. That should be mandatory for all luncheons.

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  12. Isabelita-- I just googled "sweet betsy trillium" and was absolutely blown away by how much they look like these native trilliums. Such a beautiful flower.

    Scott-- I highly recommend Les Cowley's website Atmospheric Optics. You will be delighted to see where these arcs and halos occur. The first amazing view of them that I saw on his site was photographed in Alabama. I heard about the snow headed your way. We're about to take a sharp turn back to winter here as well. Temps 20 degrees cooler and showery into next week.

    Arkansas Patti-- I run outside all the time when the sky is slightly overcast, wispy with light clouds. It's amazing what the sun and a ice crystals can do. Yes, to luncheons and walks!

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  13. This is so interesting. I've never seen, or haven't noticed, arcs or halos in the sky and will have to go check out Les Cowley's Atmospheric Optics. Beautiful stuff.

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  14. Rubye Jack-- I think you will really enjoy looking at the photos submitted to Atmospheric Optics. The things people see in the sky will blow your mind! I have been hooked ever since I saw my first circumhorizon arc in 2009!

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  15. Hi Robin Andrea - thanks for your lovely comment on my recent post at living dharma. I'm grateful for this weird online community and for you and Roger in particular. I so wish we could sit down around a table and enjoy some superb food and wine and just ramble through what I think would be great friendship.

    Thanks for your kindness, your awakeness - your humanity. Here in Vancouver things are rough for my friend Ian and his amazing husband Paul. A stroke-like event on Saturday and in the hospital since, which he so wanted to avoid. I hope we can get him home for the last step.

    In gratitude,

    John
    (please write, if you ever want to to youngjohn07@gmail.com)

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  16. I would certainly have a happy-dancing day, if I was on that trail. Nice photos Robin. I don't pretend to know much about Atmospheric Optics, but I do find them interesting. I've gone to the website quite a few times to research something I saw in the sky. Thanks for that...

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  17. Such amazing skies where ever you are! Suburban skies leave little to be looking at. Lately I find I'm looking down so I don't trip and fall over all the pot holes. Pretty soon it'll be serious walking weather. No flowers blooming yet but I'm hearing song birds in the morning and that gives me hope. Still wearing long underwear though. This winter left me chilly and I don't trust that it's over yet.

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  18. John-- Thank you for your comment. You know I responded by email to you.

    Pat-- The ditches here are pretty interesting. They were built originally for the hydraulic mining of gold. Now they supply a lot of the drinking water and irrigation water for our neighbors. The weather has changed, we are now in a rainy pattern and will be for a while. It's nice to look back at these photos and remember the sunlight.

    jsk-- I am learning where and when to look up. Some sunlight and icy clouds can produce an endless array of splendid sights. I am utterly addicted, as you know! Sure hope spring arrives and STAYS. You have had quite a long, cold winter.

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  19. Your sky knowledge--wow! And a good nature walk with good friends is just about the apex.

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  20. Banjo52-- I just started noticing these atmospheric optics over the past few years. It's grand stuff. We do love our walks with friends Yes, the apex!

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