Strange things I have seen
As the years of experience in watching the skies reveals the patterns and trends, it also highlights the exceptional. Here are wonderful and odd things I have witnessed and sometimes photographed.
A srange photograph I came upon is presented here, in the hopes someone may have some idea what it is.
A brilliant display of irridescent colors on December 7, 2003, appeared around the cloud filtered Sun, which also happened to be aligned with an aircraft contrail. By retouching out the contrail to the right of the Sun I created an image that could be similar to what a giant meteor entering the atmosphere might look like, shining from above the clouds! This is thus a phony image, unlike the others on this page.
Although many have seen a 'Sun dog' brilliantly hanging from one or even both sides of the Sun few have seen such a thing from a reflection of the Sun off a layer of ice crystals. Here the sun is tightly, brilliantly but irregularly reflected from an otherwise invisible thin sheet of cloud above the opaque layers below. To the left a faint 'Sun Dog' is refracted through a tenuous mass of suitably shaped ice crystals. Another picture of an extraordinary 'Sun Dog' display from a Solar reflection is here.
The sun is behind the opaque clouds, lighting a body of water beneath the main mass. The still water lights the cloud bottom with the overall reflection, yet the image of the Sun is reflected as well from ice crystals floating among and below the clouds. A more general 'pillar' like that extending above and below the reflection is a more commonly seen variation of such a display.
With some retouching to restore the visual impression, this photo shows the waning stages of a mesmerizing display of silvery dazzling color occupying an arc of some 45 degrees radius of the Sun. A portion of a standard 22 degree halo can be seen near the top. It was like we were seeing the colors of a more vivid dimension than this through the filmy veil of the ice crystal clouds. Mid 1970s, San Francisco bay area.
An episode of infestation of Mediterranean Fruit Flies scared the local governments into spraying wide regions of populated areas in the Midpennensula with malathion, a move which generated public outcry and myriads of new paint jobs for automobiles left uncovered. Spotlights would guide the helicopters cruising below the fog, and as I shot a time exposure of the beam out in an otherwise deserted street the light was moved while being left on. The resulting photograph had an eerie 'UFO' like quality to it.
While driving down the San Mateo bridge on a still day I noticed a strange 'dark ray' extending far into the sky from dead ahead. It took a bit of thinking to explain the situation. The Bay water was very still at the time, and the shadow of the bridge was simply reflected along with the Sunlight, made visible because I was exactly aligned with this 'ribbon' of unilluminated air! The elevated portion of the bridge is indicated to the left of the 'vanishing point'