Weather Blog

Weekend eye candy: Moon halos, needle ice, and cool clouds

Weekend eye candy: Moon halos, needle ice, and cool clouds

I've had a lot of great photo submissions sent in over the past few weeks and finally getting around to a blog to give them the light of day.

First up, take a look at these interesting cloud formations spotted over Olympic College in Bremerton on Feb. 3 from Nick Goddfred -- a function of some turbulence in the area, but aside from lenticular clouds, the smooth edges seem pretty rare to me. It could be as a result of air being disrupted as it flowed over the Olympic Mountains.

Next up: A sign that rain is on the way. Dr. Dale Ireland captured this moon halo (with the Orion constellation on the left)

Those halos are caused by ice crystals in the high clouds there refracting the moonlight. This also can occur with the sun.

Speaking of ice crystals, we've had a few people send in great photos of "Needle Ice".

This first group was taken by Mike Adkinson of Bellingham on Feb. 3:

It forms when you have a source of water -- like a puddle or really moist soil -- that hasn't frozen come in contact with air that is freezing. As the water freezes it creates higher pressure, squeezing a little more water from the source out the edge through perhaps a tiny crack. That water freezes -- lengthening the ice "needle" and the process repeats.

If it repeats enough, you can get long strands of ice.

Here is another from Jerry Phipps on Feb. 2:

And this last one was from Goerge Foster:

Speaking of cold, check out this satellite image from the European Space Agency that shows the snow cover over the eastern U.S. after one of their many snow storms in January:

And finally, a trip in the wayback machine to one year ago today, when a rocket launch made an incredible sight when it blew though a sundog just after launch. That was amazing at the time. But what I didn't know was it also led to the discovery of a new type of ice halo..

Here is the video:

And here is the article that describes the new halo.

Have a great weekend!