Earth's Atmosphere

A Gallery Page devoted to the extraordinary phenomena that can be seen in Earth's very own atmosphere. Whatever the weather, it seems that there's always something to look out for...

Noctilucent Clouds
8/7/14
Pauline Macrae
Noctilucent Clouds
Pat Williams
Sun Pillar 22/02/03 - Maarten de Vries
Sun Pillar 22/02/03 - Maarten de Vries

When I let out the dog in the early morning of 22 February in 2003, I noticed this streak of light in the sky: a pillar of light caused by the sun. I'd seen photos and read about it, but had never seen one myself before.

There is a first time for everything they say. Got the camera out to capture the moment. I took quite a few shots, but the camera seemed to lack contrast in this wavelength, so I had to enhance it a bit to get the full extent of it. I could follow the pillar for about 30 degrees up the way. What causes the effect I don't know, but I assume that it is to do with ice crystals in the higher atmosphere.

The photo was taken with a Fujifilm Finepix 6300.

Maarten
Sun Pillar 19/03/2005 - Eric Walker
Sun Pillar 19/03/2005 - Eric Walker
A beautiful upper-type sun pillar taken at 18:20h on Saturday 19 March 2005 from Conon Bridge. The sky was still bright blue with high wisps of white cloud and the horizon just starting to turn golden.

Horizontal plate type crystals form most sun pillars. Upper sun pillars result when light rays are externally and internally reflected downwards (ref. www.sundog.clara.co.uk/halo/pillar.htm). When crystals are below a line between the observer and the sun, they can reflect light upward to form a pillar apparently beneath it - a lower sun pillar.

www.astrophotos.plus.com
Noctilucent Clouds 07/2003 - Pauline Macrae
Noctilucent Clouds 07/2003 - Pauline Macrae

Noctilucent clouds from Culloden car park. Taken in July, 2003 at about 0130.

Pauline
Noctilucent Cloud (08.07.04) - Eric Walker
Noctilucent Cloud (08.07.04) - Eric Walker
The sight was awesome - the brightest, almost fluorescent, banner of cloud I have seen!

At 2:00am BST (01:00 UT) I took some images from my garden in Conon Bridge using a Nikon Coolpix 5700. The picture, to be honest, doesn't do justice to seeing it for real.

www.astrophotos.plus.com
Sundogs at Conon 19/04/2005 - Eric Walker
Sundogs at Conon 19/04/2005 - Eric Walker
This was taken at 6:30pm (17:30h UT) on 19 April 2005 from my back garden in Conon Bridge. You can see two sundogs, one either side of the Sun blocked out by my thumb.

Camera settings were ISO 100, 1/2000sec, fl=8.9mm with a 0.45x wide-angle teleconvertor lens.

www.astrophotos.plus.com
Sun Halo from Conon Bridge (date unknown) - Eric Walker
Sun Halo from Conon Bridge (date unknown) - Eric Walker
This is a very common halo visible all over the world throughout the year. They occur when the sky contains wispy, hazy, thin cirrus clouds. These clouds are cold and contain ice crystals which refract and reflect the sunlight to form the halo and other associated phenomena.

The halo is large and always the same size, no matter where it is in
the sky.

The image was taken with a Nikon Coolpix 5700, IS0 100, f/5.0,
1/4000sec, fl=8.9mm with a 0.45x wide-angle teleconvertor lens and
processed with Adobe Photoshop CS. Note that I masked the Sun with my thumb to ensure the halo dominated the image. The clouds have come out pretty good as well.

www.astrophotos.plus.com
Sun Pillar from Inverness (date unknown) - Les Gamble
Sun Pillar from Inverness (date unknown) - Les Gamble

This photograph was taken from our house at Resaurie, Inverness looking North West. The sun was just setting behind Ord hill when we noticed this optical effect. Is it a sun pillar? It was quite pronounced for 4-5 minutes and made for a very nice sunset. Ben Wyvis is visible in the background, with the Moray Firth in the foreground. Photograph taken with hand held Pentax ME Super, metering for the sun. Image scanned then cropped in Photoshop 6.

Les
Sundogs 06/2005 - Les Gamble
Sundogs 06/2005 - Les Gamble

Sundogs are also known as "parhelia", the word Greek meaning "beside the Sun." Whose dogs are they? Perhaps the Norse sky-god Odin, who did have two hounds/wolves named Geri (Ravener) and Freki (Glutton).
This photo is the best effort from a full film worth I took one evening in late June. All of the frames were over exposed (despite feverish bracketing) and it's only been with the help of Photoshop that I have rescued two of them.

Photograph taken with hand held Pentax ME Super, 28mm f/2.8 lens @ smallest aperture, ISO 400 film. Print scanned then doctored in Photoshop (adjusted exposure, contrast & brightness, despeckled)

Our collie-cross Jess would like it to be known that she is in no way affiliated with Odin or any other Norse gods.

Les
Sun Halo from Inverness 21/06/05 - Ken Ross
Sun Halo from Inverness 21/06/05 - Ken Ross

This picture was taken from my home in Inverness in the evening of 21 June 2005 at 21:35 using a digital Canon Ixus camera. The settings where on "automatic". You can vaguely see most of the halo around the sun with bright knots at 90 degree intervals. I beleive the ones on either side are usually referred to as Sun Dogs.

Ken Ross
Noctilucent Cloud 12/07/05 - Eric Walker
Noctilucent Cloud 12/07/05 - Eric Walker
Striking display of Noctilucent Cloud seen over Conon Bridge in July 2005. Noctilucent Clouds exhibit four main types of structure- Veil, Bands, Waves and Whirls. This image shows Bands, Waves and Whirls.

www.astrophotos.plus.com
Double Rainbow Isle of Harris 'summer' 2006 - Les Gamble
Double Rainbow Isle of Harris 'summer' 2006 - Les Gamble

A chance shot I took while sheltering from one of the frequent downpours that were a feature of our "summer" holiday on the Isle of Harris. Secondary rainbows are nearly always broader and fainter than the primary rainbow and its colours are reversed so that the reds of the two bows are facing each other.

Photograph taken with Fuji Finepix S5500, 1/850 sec exposure, F.L 6mm (39mm Equiv') f/7.0, ISO 400. Doctored in Photoshop.

Les
Noctilucent Cloud 06/2006 - Les Gamble
Noctilucent Cloud 06/2006 - Les Gamble

This display occurred mid June 2006 and was that impressive that I had to head straight up to Culloden Moor to capture it. The Society’s observatory is just to the left of the car (centre of frame) and the Battlefield visitors centre is on the far left.

Seven frames were stuck together in Photoshop CS2 to produce this image. Individual frames were matched by adjusting their brightness/contrast. The resulting mosaic was then tweaked using Photoshop’s shadow/highlight filter to try and even out the overexposed horizon and the darker overhead sky (even though it was around 2 am the sky was already getting quite bright)

All frames taken using Pentax ME Super, 28mm lens. 6 sec exposures @ f2.8. Fujichrome Sensia 400 slide film.

Les
Noctilucent Cloud 01/07/06 - Eric Walker
Noctilucent Cloud 01/07/06 - Eric Walker
An image of Noctilucent Clouds snapped at 1.00am on 1st July 2006, looking over Eric's front garden and Conon Bridge. Cloud structures shown include type IIa and IIb (bands with diffuse blurred edges and bands with sharply defined edges) and type IIIa (waves, short with straight and narrow streaks).

Image was taken with a Nikon Coolpix 5700 digital camera, 8sec exposure at ISO 200, F/3.7 and processed using Adobe Photoshop CS and Neat Image.

www.astrophotos.plus.com
Noctilucent Clouds 14/07/06 - Pauline Macrae
Noctilucent Clouds 14/07/06 - Pauline Macrae

This was snapped while observing Jupiter on July 14th 2006. The NLC's took a while to develop and there was some debate among those present as to whether it was really a NLC display or not. It was later confirmed when Ken Kennedy gave a talk to the Society about NLCs and reported a very impressive display all over Europe on... July 14th 2006! Vindication!

Taken with Pentax K1000 SLR with 50mm lens, exposure time 5 seconds or thereabouts.

Pauline
Fogbow 16/09/06 - Les Gamble
Fogbow 16/09/06 - Les Gamble

Fogbow photographed on Saturday September 16th 7:40am.

Fogbows are formed in much the same way as rainbows. Visually Fogbows are almost white with faint reds on the outside and blues inside. A better explanation can be found at the link below.

This image is a mosaic of 5 separate frames, stuck together using Photoshop CS2. All frames were taken with Fujifilm Finepix S5500, 1/320s @ f/8, 400iso.Brightness & contrast also tweaked.

Les
Noctilucent Cloud 9th/10th 07/08 - Alan Tough
Noctilucent Cloud 9th/10th 07/08 - Alan Tough

This NLC display was visible from the stern of the MS Norwegian Jade, on route from Stavanger to Southampton.

The accompanying image was taken with at 00:58 UT (approx.) with a Canon EOS 300D and 28-80 mm lens. Exposure details: 0.8 Sec @ f/3.5, ISO-400.

Alan Tough
Rainbow in Inverness (date unknown) - John Gilmour
Rainbow in Inverness (date unknown) - John Gilmour

Details to follow
Noctilucent Clouds 26/06/09 - Antony McEwan
Noctilucent Clouds 26/06/09 - Antony McEwan

Noctilucent Clouds snapped just after midnight from back garden in Cromarty. The view is looking almost directly north and the light in the foreground is from a streetlight.

Nikon Coolpix 4300 digital camera, f/2.8, 1/3 sec exposure at ISO-400.

Antony
Noctilucent Clouds Brodgar - 20/07/2007, Douglas Thomson
Noctilucent Clouds Brodgar - 20/07/2007, Douglas Thomson

This image was taken at Brodgar overlooking the Harray Loch, close to the World Heritage Neolithic site, the Ring of Brodgar.

It was taken at 11.58 pm on the 20th of July 2007, with a Canon 5D 17-40lens at ISO 100 and a 13 second exposure at f/14.

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