Look up at the sky! Its a bird, its a plane… but it isn’t Superman. It’s a natural phenomen that lights up the sky!. Read on to learn more about these wonders of the sky.
Have you experienced a night of darkness that extends more than 24 hour? This spectacular natural phenomenon happens only inside the polar circle and it is called the Polar night. Since the Earth’s axis is tilted 26 degrees, certain regions of the Arctic and Antarctic Circle experience a once-a-year of more than 24-hour of total darkness. An added treat… Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) is best seen during Polar nights!
A Sundog or mock sun, is another natural optical phenomenon, occuring when bright light resembling halo appears on either the sun’s right or left side. Sun dog which may appear at any given season, and in any part of the world, is best appreciated when the sun is low in the horizon. This natural atmospheric phenomenon is formed during cold weather, when ice crystal crosses in high cirrus clouds. Sundog takes a reddish hue nearest to the sun’s edge and getting orange to blue in color further out.
An aurora borealis (or the northern lights), is a spectacular luminous arches of light occurring in polar sky. Aurora borealis is formed when highly-charged particles collide with oxygen and nitrogen molecules present in the Earth’s higher atmosphere. Some of the energy are then transformed into luminous lights. Aurora borealis range in color, shapes and structures. Visible during clear nights, this spectacular natural atmospheric phenomenon occurs often during winter in places like Canada and Alaska.
A moonbow or a lunar rainbow, is another spectacular but rare phenomenon to watch. It is a rainbow produced when a minimal amount of light is reflected off the moon’s surface. Moonbow is an elusive light display to catch, since its color (white) is too faint for the naked eye to see. For you to see one, factors should be take into considerations like; the moon must be in its shiniest, the presence of water vapor in the atmosphere, a dark sky, and the moon is low in the horizon. Moonbow can only be seen regularly in a few places on earth that include: Yosemite Falls in California, Cumberland Falls in Kentucky, Waimea on Hawaii. and Victoria Falls in Africa.
The opposite of polar nights during winter north of the Arctic Circle, the midnight sun occurs during summer months where there is a continuous 24-hours of sunlight. This natural phenomenon is due to the Earth’s 23°26′ inclination and as a result both the South and North poles are tilted toward the Sun for a period of six months. Midnight sun is best seen in places in the polar region such as; Alaska, Greenland, Norway, Finland, Northern Sweden, Northern Iceland and some parts of Canada.
The Catatumbo Lightning is another spectacular atmospheric phenomenon that occurs only in Catatumbo River, Venezuela. It is a thunderstorm characterized by flashes of continuous lightning that begins about an hour after sunset. Scientific findings showed that the areas topography influenced the occurrence of this natural phenomenon, which produces thunderstorm clouds as high as 10 km or more. Somehow, between January and April 2010, Catatumbo lightnings were surprisingly not seen mainly because there is a drought in the area.
The Mother of all thunderstorms, Supercells, is characterized by a rotating updraft (mesocyclone) that could bring in heavy rain, flooding, destructive winds, powerful tornadoes and large hails. Supecells usually occur in arid areas anywhere in the world. In the U.S., super cells occurred in the great plain states. Supercells range in sizes and usually last a few hour. Supercells are classified under Low precipitation(LP) supercell characterized by rain or hail and High precipitation (HP)that brings heavy showers.
Green flashes are genuine natural phenomena that can be seen before sunrise or before sunset, when due to different causes visible green to appears. These green flashes are usually observed over the ocean, over the clouds or mountain tops. The reason why green flashes occur is due to the refracted lights in the atmosphere. This optical phenomenon usually lasts for a second or two. It is best to observed green flashes over the ocean on a clear day.
Undulatus asperatus is likely to be recognized as a new cloud formation, though these undulatus-looking clouds have been observed the past 30 years. Undulutus asperatus is characterized by its rough appearance due to the presence of dry air above and colder air beneath. These cloud formations are commonly seen in the United States great plain states in particular Texas. They appear during the morning following continuous thunderstorm activity.
A light pillar is another natural optical phenomenon seen as streak of lights beaming vertically upwards. It is formed by light reflecting from floating ice crystals in the Earth atmosphere. Normally, these lights are seen when the sun sits just below the horizon during extreme cold weather.