A fogbow is a very similar to a rainbow; however, as its name suggests, it appears as a bow in fog rather than rain.  It is also a rare phenomena too.  Small water droplets create a fogbow.  Very weak colors are seen in a fogbow.  It has a bluish inner edge and a reddish outer edge.

A sea dog fogbow over the south Oregon coast (Photo by JHL)
A sea dog fogbow over the south Oregon coast (Photo by JHL)

Since the water droplets are very small, the fogbow appears white, which is why it is sometimes white rainbows.  When the droplets forming it are almost all of the same size the fogbow can have multiple inner rings, or supernumeraries, that are more strongly colored than the main bow.  Unlike a rainbow, fogbows normally appear as a band of bright white, sometimes with hints of red or blue. Because of these differences, fog bows are often referred to by other names – cloud bows, white rainbows or ghost rainbows.

Mars & a Lunar Fog Bow
Mars & a Lunar Fog Bow Mars & a Lunar Fog Bow. Mars and a Colorful Lunar Fog Bow Credit & Copyright: Wally Pacholka (AstroPics.com, TWAN)

When viewing a fogbow from the air looking down, such as when you’re in an airplane, it is called a cloud bow.  Mariners sometimes called his phenomena sea dogs.  When a fogbow is seen at night, it is called a lunar fog bow.

The Mie scattering simulation used a mean droplet diameter of 60 micron with a lognormal distribution of diameters having a standard deviation 12% to match the width of the primary fogbow and the position of the two supernumerary arcs inside the main bow.

A fogbow has the same direction as a rainbow so that the sun would be behind the viewer and the direction would be into the bank of the fog.  Its outer radius is slightly less than that of a rainbow.

Fogbow in the Arctic
Fogbow in the Arctic

Your best chances of catching a fogbow are when the Sun is shining brightly and the fog is thin – they’ll appear as the sun breaks through the fog behind you. You’ll often find fogbows as the cool sea mists roll in over the ocean or as fog makes its way down a hillside or mountainside. And, if you happen to be in the middle of a fog or a cloud – say, in an airplane – you might see a full circle rather than an arch as seen below.

Full circle fogbow.
Full circle fogbow.

On rare occasions, you might see a solar glory or a Brocken spectre within a fog bow. Glories look just like halos, and they’re normally centered on a Brocken spectre or an object within the fog. These colorful rings are created by sunlight reflecting off water droplets in much the same way that rainbows and fogbows are created. A Brocken spectre is a spooky phenomenon that looks like a ghost within the fog. These shadowy shapes are named after a peak within Germany’s Hartz Mountains where Brocken spectres are commonly seen. Brocken spectres are caused by a shadow thrown on the fog – either your own, or that of a nearby object.

Brocken Spectre at Lough Corrib, a lake in the west of Ireland, near the city of Galway. Photo by Conor Ledwith Photography.
Brocken Spectre at Lough Corrib, a lake in the west of Ireland, near the city of Galway. Photo by Conor Ledwith Photography.

Till Next Time,

xo-heather

 

 

 

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The Full Snow Moon

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I hope you guys got out last night and caught a glimpse of the Full Snow Moon last night.  What a sight!  Chris got out of work last night about quarter to 10 last night and even though he worked doubles, 12 hours, straight through with no break, he offered to take me out to somewhere that offered an unobstructed view.

First, we stopped at Country Fair for something quick to eat along the way and decided to drive up to Phieffer Nature Center on top of Lillibridge road in Portville.  There is a big open field and ranges in elevation from 1,900 to 2,300 feet above sea level along a steep valley wall that faces west.  The views are spectacular and on a clear day you can see twenty-two miles west to the peaks of Allegany State Park.  Totally unobstructed and none of those pesky power lines that always “photobomb” my pictures here at the house.

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It was pretty cold out so we didn’t stay long.  I got a dozen or so shots, a good group to choose from. 

Did you happen to see Jupiter was out?  The bright object in the sky below it to the left was Jupiter.  I got some shots of it too but either my camera is not powerful enough to capture it or I just don’t know how to shoot star and galaxy’s.

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Did you get any amazing pictures last night?  Did you see the Full Snow Moon last night?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.  If you liked this post, please like, share, and follow my blog if you haven’t already.  I’m trying to get a 100 followers by Spring.  Thanks!

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Namaste!
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Winter Solstice 21 December 2014

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The winter solstice is an astronomical occurrence which marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year.  It occurs every year between 21-22 December in the Northern Hemisphere and 20-21 of June in the Southern Hemisphere.  This time period is also known as Midwinter, Yule, and the Longest Night.
When the Earth axis’s is tilted away from the sun, one side of the world experiences winter for half a year and the other half of the world experiences summer.  Because the two hemispheres face opposite directions along the planetory pole, one polar hemisphere experiences winter whilst the other experiences summer.

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This is more evident in the higher latitudes, but a hemisphere winter’s solstice happens on the shortest day and the longest night of the year, when the suns daily maximum elevation in the sky is the lowest.  This really only lasts a moment in time, so other words are used for this day such as “midwinter”, or “the shortest day”.  But it shouldn’t be confused with “the first day of winter” or “the start of winter”.  The whole seasonal significance of the day is the reversal of the gradual lengthening of the of the nights and the shortening of the days.  The earliest sunrise and the latest sunrise will differ from each solstice, and also will also depend on the latitude, due to the variation in the solar day throughout the year caused by the Earth’s elliptical orbit.

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During ancient times, astronomical events have controlled animal mating, sowing of crops and metering of winter reserves between harvest and show how various cultural mythologies and traditions have arisen.  Physical remains of this have been found in the late Neolithic and Bronze remains archeological sites such as Stonehenge in England and Newgrange in Ireland. 
The Winter Solstice may have been very important in some communities because starvation was very common in the first months of winter when there was no guarantee of making it through the upcoming winter months.  In more temperate months, the midwinter festival was the last celebration or feast before winter set in.  Most of the cattle would be slaughtered so there would be less to feed over the winter.  This was the only time of year that there would be fresh meat available.  The majority of wine and beer reserved were fermented and ready to be drunk at this time.

The sun’s ebbing presence at this time in the sky initiated the concept of rebirth, or birth of the sun gods, which is common.  This was the start of life-death-rebirth deities as see in different culture’s mythologies and lore.

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