Jan 25-08

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2008: January: Jan 25-08
Winter rainbow    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Frederic W. Koski
Cold weather colors    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Frederic W. Koski

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Friday, January 25, 2008 - 08:15 am:

When you think of winter in the U.P., you don't usually of think any other color than white, so when Frederic W. Koski spied this rainbow in the winter skies, he added some color to everyone's day. These colorful spectrums aren't a common occurrence this time of year and with this one being inverted, it's just that much more unique. I'll leave the explanation up to someone with more knowledge of such scientific matters, but I think the display has something to do with the sun's rays reflecting off ice crystals in the air. All I know for sure, is that it's nice to see something other than white in the sky!

By David t Hainault (Davehainault) on Friday, January 25, 2008 - 08:18 am:

Goooood mornin', Keweenaw! Ice crystal rainbows: beautiful, but heralds of leathal weather, if you're not ready for it. Polarfleece anyone??? How about another cup of hot coffee!

By dotti caldwell (Dotti) on Friday, January 25, 2008 - 08:31 am:

How unusual! What a pretty sight to see! Thanks for sharing!

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Friday, January 25, 2008 - 08:41 am:

...and the UP is the pot of gold.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Friday, January 25, 2008 - 08:52 am:

You are exactly right Mary, it's ice crystals refracting (not reflecting) light. Here's how it works:

To make a rainbow you need two items, rain and sunshine. If there are no water droplets or no sunshine, there can be no rainbow. In the winter, the sky is filled with brilliantly coloured optical phenomena including halos, light pillars, arcs, and other coloured patterns. In winter, these luminous arcs in the sky, and rainbow-tinted halos and sundogs are often confused with rainbows. A rainbow is due to the action of light on water droplets. A halo results from the refraction of sunlight by ice crystals.

A great way to tell the difference between a rainbow and a halo is that rainbows are always centred in the sky opposite the sun or other source of light, while halos, except for a few rare varieties, are seen surrounding or otherwise near the source of light whether it be the sun, moon, streetlight or something else.

By William J Mullen (Billmullen) on Friday, January 25, 2008 - 09:13 am:

The top picture looks like God's smile to me.

By Cindy Pihlaja Russell (Gone2long) on Friday, January 25, 2008 - 09:27 am:

I have always heard that sundogs or rings around the sun mean bad weather is on its way. Oh, well, spring is only 55 days away. We can do this...chins up everyone!

By stix (Stixoutwest) on Friday, January 25, 2008 - 10:03 am:

Here in Az. we had a brilliant double rainbow yesterday! Yup, we had rain...and you all know we have sun! The rainbow was probably the most clear and colorful I have ever seen. It was right over my neighborhood and one could see clearly where it started and ended. Sort of eerie because it felt like I was driving right through it! Seems like they are usually so far in the distance but this one was right there. Now if only I knew how to use the camera on my cell phone!! It was gone by the time I got home and could grab my real camera.
Thanks for the explanation. I learn so much on this site!!

By Brooke (Lovethekeweenaw) on Friday, January 25, 2008 - 10:20 am:

That is beautiful, taken during a few short minutes of blue sky I bet.

By Ben Kilpela (Benkilpela) on Friday, January 25, 2008 - 11:00 am:

The phenomenon is called a sun-dog and it is common in winter. They are, indeed, made by sunlight refacting through ice crystals in a layer of the atmosphere. As the temperature drops, water vapor condenses at all levels of the atmosphere. In winter, the condensing vapor freezes and forms ice crystals. This happens in clear weather only coincidentally. High pressure usually brings clear weather. And high pressure usually brings sinking air and calm winds, which keeps the crystals from being blown about. Enjoy your sun-dogs. They usually foretell good weather, though cold.

Captain Ben Kilpela
Isle Royale Queen IV

By Steve L. (Steveexyooper) on Friday, January 25, 2008 - 11:08 am:

There's nothing quite like a Keweenaw icy rainbow..Makes me want a cup of hot chocolate.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Friday, January 25, 2008 - 11:25 am:

I found 2 more great websites that explain sundogs and halos a bit better than I did earlier........



By Tom (Tom) on Friday, January 25, 2008 - 11:34 am:

Will be in sunny AZ in three days. Hope it is nice and warm.

By Debra J. McCumber (Debwaugh) on Friday, January 25, 2008 - 12:04 pm:

I like William's comment above about the first picture looking like God's smile. I second that!

Have a great weekend everyone.

By Paul Oesterle (Paulwebbtroll) on Friday, January 25, 2008 - 03:49 pm:

Have a safe trip and enjoy the sun, Tom! How long will you be gone?

By Janie T. (Bobbysgirl) on Friday, January 25, 2008 - 04:02 pm:

Tom, if your travel route happens to take you through eastern Iowa, stop and take a load of snow with you, we have plenty to spare and still would have an excess amount, in trade for bringing us sunshine and warmer temps on your way back home!

By Tom (Tom) on Friday, January 25, 2008 - 04:46 pm:

Will be gone until the 1st week of March. Flying via the gamblers' airline. Direct flight from GB to Phoenix and much less than other airlines.
Allegiant Air. Thanks for the wishes.

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Friday, January 25, 2008 - 04:55 pm:

Beautiful pictures today! Thank you!

Tom, have a great trip! Enjoy your time with the warm sun! Hmm, we may see that kind of weather in late June, or something, LOL? It sounds like you will be elsewhere for some of the time, so I hope that goes well, too. Take care!

By Frederic W. Koski (Fred) on Friday, January 25, 2008 - 06:37 pm:

Both Halos appeared at the same time last Saturday, very cold day. The bottom pic is looking East while the top pic is much higher in the sky.

By Rene Bush (Rsbush) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 09:03 am:

Beautiful pictures and thank you for the explanations Captain Paul and Captain Ben. . .always so much to learn on this site!

By Lisa Walters (Ypsilisa) on Saturday, January 26, 2008 - 10:17 pm:

To David Hainault: Do you by any chance have a relative named Tony? I met him in the early 70s at a family gathering in Lake Linden; have been doing some genealogical research lately and wondering if he was a relative. If he was, it was via the Cloutiers. But then, maybe every Frenchman in the Lake Linden area is a relative of mine to some degree!

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