Saturday, August 20, 2011

4 Of The Rarest/Awesome-st Weather Phenomenas

Don't you hate it when you go out to dinner with your friends, and you end up talking about the weather? If so, get ready for more weather-related discussion! But after finishing this post, you'll blow your friends' mind away with amazingly rare weather phenomenons. As Eddard once said, you'll be the bee's knees.

4. The Green Flash

The green flash? I'm not talking about the fictional DC comic character with super-speed. I'm talking about the rare optical phenomena that occurs after sunset or before sunrise. In a brief moment of seconds or less, a green flash can be seen above the sun.

It's coming.

The explanation for this green light isn't due to a mystical ghost-pirate ship floating the seas far off. As with all the other optical phenomenas, it's due to light refraction. As we all know, the farther away from the earth you go, the less air you'll find. The light that hits the earth finds itself bending due to the thinner air in the higher atmosphere and the denser air molecules in the lower atmosphere. Since the higher frequency blue/green light bends easier than lower frequency light, you get to actually see the light for a brief moment. In order for the green flash to occur to our naked eye, the atmosphere must be especially dense in order to magnify the green light long enough for our silly/weak eyes to see it.

3. The Mammatus Clouds

We've all seen these pictures in "You won't believe it's not photoshopped" posts around the internet. But what exactly are they? Are they some type of alien-ship-cloud-cloaking devices? No. Silly human.

Silly you.

The Mammatus, or the Mammatocumulus, means "breast cloud". Before you get all excited to see more pictures, remember that it's just name. These clouds are nicknamed as such because of the characteristics of the clouds, and the breast of a women. These clouds commonly indicate strong storms with winds that may even spin up tornadoes. To others, it indicates a alien-invasion related doomsday.

In this movie, we are the aliens.

The exact reason and explanation of these clouds are generally argued. Most of the theories are so un-interestingly scientific, that I could not bring myself to read all of them and post it here. Do you really want to hear about how Cumulonimbus clouds spread out while air rises up, causing warm air to be added and resulting in destabilizing clouds, hence creating lumpy clouds? Didn't think so.

2. Circumhorizontal Arc

Although it sounds like some type of scientific-mathematical term from school, it's not. If you liked normal rainbows, wait till you hear about Circumhorizontal Arcs. These arcs are capable of becoming 360 degrees rainbows (Although rarely). Not only that, but they can spontaneously create brilliant rainbow-like colors in the sky.

Witchcraft may be related to this picture.

In order for these special "rainbows" to occur, the sun must be very high in the sky, which means that the sun must be directly pointed at that location. This specific rainbow only occurs when the light hits horizontal-orientated flat hexagon ice crystals. As you can see, it isn't as common as your everyday rain.

Totally photoshopped.

1. The Aurora

The Aurora is probably the most commonly known one on this list, and by no means does that make it lame. These natural light displays only occur in the sky in high latitude regions, which means you won't find any of these in Brazil or Mexico. The lights are generally green/blue in color, and are usually only observed in the night sky.
Earth? More like lemon meringue pie. [Comment may or may not be related to anything.]

These Auroras have been associated with one of nature's most beautiful alien-like phenomenas of all time. It's not every day where you see waves of glowing light coming out of seemingly nowhere, and flow across the night sky.

How do these magical light shows occur? Let me tell you. Sometimes the sun spills extremely 'hot' protons and electrons in a small flow, those are known as solar winds. The solar winds produce protons and electrons that come along and smash into gas molecules in our atmosphere and release energy; we see that energy as light. The color is determine by the type of gas that collides with the sun's protons and electrons. Green indicates oxygen and blue indicates nitrogen Sounds pretty simple now doesn't it?

It's as simple as building a city.

It's known that other planets also experience their own Auroras, but not all of them. In order for the planets to do such a thing, they must have a strong, large region influenced by a magnetic field. (Earth's regions is near the polar caps.) Planets such as Saturn and Jupiter experience these same mystical Auroras. In fact, since Jupiter is so darn big, their Auroras give off 1000 times more energy than Earth's Aurora.

Go ahead and smack your cursor over this picture for a zoom effect.
Despite that, Earth's auroras are no laughing matter. In fact, at the night of September 2, 1859, two telegraph operators 125,000 miles apart were able to carry out a conversation for two hours without any source of energy, other than the current from the Aurora. But it isn't all happy magical stories. The effect of the Aurora can increase or decrease the electric current in the wires. Sometimes during an Aurora, telegraphers might have faced electrical problems that could neutralize the current inside of the wires.

Witchcraft at its finest.