Strange & Shining: Gallery of Mysterious Night Lights

Post 4742


Strange & Shining: Gallery of Mysterious Night Lights

Sprite Sighting

Credit: ILAN Science Team
A natural weather phenomenon, sprites appear as flashes high in the sky. They are triggered by thunderstorms and are created when lightning from thunderstorms excites the electric field in the atmosphere above the storm. The resulting dancing flashes of bright light can form as balls of electricity, streaks, tendrils or a combination of both, such as in the above image.

Stunning Sundogs

Credit: Don Brown, Utah Skies
A sundog is another atmospheric optical phenomenon caused by the refraction of sunlight by tiny ice crystals in clouds. Also known as “mock” suns or parhelia, sundogs appear on each side of the sun. The ice crystals must be oriented horizontally and the observer’s line of sight must be close to horizontal to see the sundogs. This beautiful photo was captured at sunrise on a cold morning in Park City, Utah. Above the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in midwinter, sundogs meld into a halo around the sun.

Lime Light

Credit: Pi-Lens | Shutterstock
The sky appears to glow an eerie green hue as the intense aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights, shine in the moonlit night. The striking image is mirrored on Lake Laberge, Yukon Territory, Canada.

Ice Crystal Arc

Credit: NOAA Photo Library
Solar halos are also caused by small, flat, six-sided, ice crystals that float down parallel to the ground. When an observer passes through the same plane as many of the falling ice crystals near sunrise or sunset, the alignment makes each crystal act like a miniature lens. These “lenses” refract sunlight into our view and create what appears to be a bright circle around the sun. Shown above is a photo of the sun peeking from behind a building, with a 22-degree solar halo arc shining around it.

Haloes and Dogs

Credit: NOAA | Grant W. Goodge
Partial halo with parhelia (sun dogs) on both sides of halo.

‘Night-Shining’ Clouds

Credit: Veres Viktor | NASA
This image shows one of the first ground sightings of noctilucent clouds in the 2007 season over Budapest, Hungary on June 15, 2007. To learn about how these clouds form and when and where you can see them, click here.

Double Rainbow

Credit: Bambi L. Dingman | dreamstime
The breathtaking double rainbow above was photographed over Harper’s Lake in Louisville, Colorado.

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