Thursday, 26 March 2015

The smile in the sky

Following last week's heavenly goings-on with the Northern Lights and the solar eclipse, I thought that the sky might take a back seat for a while, but this week I had one of those 'right place, right time' moments.

Working outside on a day of bright sunny intervals and isolated wintry showers meant that an eye had to be kept on the weather. On the third visit of the day, I happened to be on the ground whilst my colleague was up a ladder. This meant that, fortuitously, I was looking skywards at the appropriate moment to spot a smile in the sky.

It was directly overhead, which confused me (it doesn't take much, admittedly), so I reasoned that it probably wasn't a rainbow.

It wasn't off to one side of the sun, or compact enough in shape to be a sundog.

In fact, the sun is not in this image, as it was effectively beyond the bottom of the photograph. Taking the curve of the phenomenon into account, this meant that the sun wasn't the point upon which it was centred. So not a halo around the sun, either. Curiouser still!

Back home, after work, I rummaged through various sky and cloud books, to find that the most likely culprit was a circumzenithal arc.

This is an optical phenomenon centred on the zenith, but on the side nearest the sun.

And I was really lucky to see it as, five minutes beforehand, we had been putting in a new cable run and I had been scrabbling about in the dark space underneath a house.


biobabbler said...

How lovely. Interesting phenomenon (thanks for the nerdy like), and how nice to know the sky was smiling upon you.

Imperfect and Tense said...

It's very nice to know someone 'up there' appreciates me!

(Other deities and facial movements are available)