Iridescence with wave clouds

| 8 Comments
DSC00889_Iridescence_600.JPG

Iridescence with wave clouds, Boulder, Colorado, December, 2015.

8 Comments

Hey folks, Panda’s Thumb is having server problems. You can see new comments if you “Update”, but they vanish if you refresh the page. Things are broken. The Crew is working the problem.

Ravi, are you there?

Is that designed? If not, how do you know it isn’t? Is it because we know how such patterns can form naturally? So what? Does that mean that that pattern can’t have been made by god to look exactly like that?

Impressive. I’ve never seen cloud iridescence, though I watch the sky regularly for sun dogs and other atmospheric phenomena more common where I live. Are the colors in the image a good representation of how you actually perceived them, in terms of tone and brightness?

Impressive. I’ve never seen cloud iridescence, though I watch the sky regularly for sun dogs and other atmospheric phenomena more common where I live. Are the colors in the image a good representation of how you actually perceived them, in terms of tone and brightness?

I think iridescence is probably fairly common, but you have to look in the general direction of the sun to see it, so you are apt to miss it unless you are looking for it. It helps to have dark, preferably polarizing sunglasses. It looks roughly as I have depicted it here, depending on how you tilt your head while wearing your polarizing sunglasses. I took this picture without a polarizer and, as you can see, with a tree limb blocking the sun. Usually, you have to underexpose a bit to prevent saturation, and it helps to take a number of pictures in order to block as much scattered light as possible.

There appears to be another interesting phenomena in this picture as well; namely the intersection of two waves of oscillating pressure crossing each other at an angle that produces those “interferrence fringes” of condensed water vapor.

I’ve seen this phenomenon a number of times; and my meteorlogist son, who used to be part of a crew of a weather station in Limon, CO, explains that air traveling over different peaks in land masses will contain oscillations in pressure. Two different peaks act like two sources of coherent oscillating pressure analagous to a pair of coherent sound or light sources that produce those “interferrence fringes” down stream. If the relative humidity and temperature are just right, those “fringes” are made visible by the water vapor condensing.

Mike Elzinga said:

There appears to be another interesting phenomena in this picture as well; namely the intersection of two waves of oscillating pressure crossing each other at an angle that produces those “interferrence fringes” of condensed water vapor.

I’ve seen this phenomenon a number of times; and my meteorlogist son, who used to be part of a crew of a weather station in Limon, CO, explains that air traveling over different peaks in land masses will contain oscillations in pressure. Two different peaks act like two sources of coherent oscillating pressure analagous to a pair of coherent sound or light sources that produce those “interferrence fringes” down stream. If the relative humidity and temperature are just right, those “fringes” are made visible by the water vapor condensing.

Nice explanation. Really makes it stand out.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on January 4, 2016 12:00 PM.

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