Tuesday, March 5

Beautiful Weather Above


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The atmosphere is made up of several layers and the layer closest to Earth is the troposphere. Most of the clouds you see in the sky are found in the troposphere, and this is the layer of the atmosphere we associate with weather.
Extending up to 10 miles above Earth's surface, the troposphere contains a variety of gases: water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and others. These gases help retain heat, a portion of which is then radiated back to warm the surface of Earth.
The term weather is the state of the atmosphere at a given time, place and geographic location. Weather forecasts provide an estimate of the conditions we expect to experience in the near future and are based on statistical computer models of similar conditions from previous weather events.
Temperature, amount and form of airborne moisture, cloudiness, and strength of wind are all different components of our weather. When the gases in the troposphere have light from the Sun pass through them we get a glimpse of unusual weather and light phenomena that can be colorful and extreme.


Mirages occur when light is refracted to produce an image of an object or the sky where it is not. It is most commonly seen on hot surfaces, such as the pavement, or in a desert.


Moon Bow

A moon bow is like a rainbow only much rarer, only seen at night when the moon is low and full to almost full. They are also called lunar rainbows and there can be double moon bows. Moon bows are created by the light of the moon and water droplets which is why they need an almost full moon to be viewed. They form on the part of the sky opposite from the moon, and are often faint compared to other rainbows.


Like rainbows haloes are formed around the Sun due to moisture (in this case ice crystals) being refracted from the Sun’s rays in the upper atmosphere. Sometimes two or more areas of the circle or arcs surrounding the Sun will be brighter, forming what we call Sun Dogs. Haloes can also form around the Moon, and occasionally around the brighter stars and planets like Venus.

Pyro Cumulus Clouds
Another heat related phenomenon, pyro cumulus clouds form the fast and intense heating of an area to create conjecture, which in turn creates a cumulus cloud. Volcanoes, forest fires, and nuclear explosion (in the form of a mushroom cloud) are all prime examples of pyro cumulus clouds.
Belt Of Venus
The belt of Venus is a phenomenon that occurs during dusty evenings, or from pollution when a band of pinkish or brownish sky will appear between the sky and the horizon.
Fire Rainbow
A fire rainbow is an extremely rare phenomenon that occurs only when the Sun is high allowing it’s light to pass through high-altitude cirrus clouds with a high content of ice crystals.
Noctilucent Clouds
Noctilucent clouds are atmospherically high clouds that refract light at dusk when the Sun has already set, illuminating the sky with no seeming light source.

Colored Moon
Due to different atmospheric issues, the moon will occasionally appear tinged with a color, such as blue, orange, or red. Excess smoke, dust, and eclipses can cause the moon to change color.
Aurora Borealis
Aurora Borealis are charged particles from the Sun that have reached the Earth's upper atmosphere and become excited. They are more typically seen closer to the poles and during the equinoxes of the year.
Green Ray
Also known as the Green Flash. This occurs very briefly before total sunset and after sunrise. It appears as a green flash above the Sun that lasts very briefly, generally only a few moments. It is caused by refraction of light in the astrosphere.
Mamalus Clouds
These odd-shaped clouds are often associated with a storm front, especially one involving a thunderstorm. It's not completely understood how they form, but they are beautiful to behold. They almost looks like waves, as if you were under the water looking up at the waves breaking overhead.

To see a rainbow we need sunshine and falling rain. A rainbow is caused by the Sun shinning on moisture droplets, most commonly in a post-rain atmosphere. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to see them because the Sun must not be too high. Rainbows are always opposite the Sun and their centers are below the horizon at the antisolar point. The lower the Sun the higher is the bow.


Kelvin-Helmhltz Clouds
Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds resemble breaking waves in the ocean. They are usually the most developed near mountains or large hills. Wind deflected up and over a barrier, like a mountain, continues flowing through the air in a wavelike pattern.
Hurricanes form in the tropics over warm ocean water and die down when they move over land or out of the tropics. These storms are called hurricanes in the Atlantic and typhoons or tropical cyclones in other areas of the world.
Cumulonimbus Clouds
During thunderstorms, very warm, moist air rises into cold air and as this humid air rises, water vapor condenses, and forms huge cumulonimbus clouds. You can see clouds like this from very far away.
A tornado begins in a severe thunderstorm called a super cell. The wind coming into the storm starts to swirl and forms a funnel. Also called twisters or cyclones the air in the funnel spins faster and faster and creates a very low pressure area which touches the Earth and is often encircled by a cloud of debris and dust.


Lenticular Clouds
Lenticular clouds seem to stay in one place. Air moves up and over a mountain, and at the point where the air goes past the mountaintop the lenticular cloud forms, and then the air evaporates on the side farther away from the mountains.
There are too many types of clouds, weather and atmospheric anomalies to mention here but I hope you learned something along the way. We deal with weather everyday on our planet and weather can be deadly but also beautiful.


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The Overview Effect refers to learning firsthand, the reality of the Earth in space from the astronaut's point of view.Thanks for stopping by; your comments are greatly appreciated and may your view be an Overview.