Tag Archives: contrail

Bisected Halo

A circular halo around the sun, which is behind a tree. A contrail crosses the halo, leaving its shadow on the thin cloud layer below.

A clear 22-degree halo around the sun, bright enough that I didn’t have to adjust the image afterward. This is straight from my phone.

Even cooler: you can actually see the contrail’s shadow on the layer of cloud that’s producing the halo! The sun is behind the tree, and while the contrail pops out so it looks closer than the almost uniform layer, it’s clear from the shadow that the contrail is higher.

Contrail / Launch

Contrail Launch

This is the kind of contrail view that starts rumors about imaginary missile launches.

Yes, that happened. A few years ago a bunch of people in the LA area saw an airplane contrail at a weird angle and there was this big news story about a mysterious missile launch off the coast of California. No one claimed responsibility for or knowledge of the launch of course, which made it seem even more mysterious. Even after people matched flight paths and time stamps and viewing angles, the myth persisted, at least in internet comment threads.

Vertical (Or Rather, Foreshortened) Contrail

Remember about a year ago when people were all freaked out about a supposed missile launch off the coast of Los Angeles, even though there was no sign of it on radar and no one claimed responsibility? Remember how it turned out to just be an airplane contrail seen head-on so that it looked vertical? (Actually, I’d bet you probably didn’t hear that part, did you?)

I was reminded of that when I saw this one today. Off the coast of Los Angeles again…pretty close to the airport.

Elongated Sundog and Contrail

I got off the freeway to catch the train out to the office last Tuesday morning, and saw this incredibly bright sundog off to the east. I couldn’t get a parking space, so I had to drive the rest of the way, but I did get a couple of photos.

The sun is off-frame to the right.

I’m not sure why the bright patch was so elongated and well-defined. My guess is that a smaller cloud in the foreground happened to be in exactly the right spot to reflect the sunlight.

I had to shorten the exposure in order to actually get some detail on here, like the bit of color spectrum in the middle.

Links: 1.0 Releases, Sci-Fi and Science Fact, The Missile that Wasn’t

  • Matt Mullenweg on Apple, WordPress & tech release strategy. 1.0 Is the Loneliest Number
  • Robert J. Sawyer on the relationship between science fiction and science fact: The job of sci-fi isn’t to predict “THE future,” but “to suggest a smorgasbord of possible futures, so that society may choose the one it wants.”
  • Mystery California missile turns out to be a contrail lit by sunset, seen almost end-on so that it looked vertical. The photo actually reminds me of a contrail I once saw.
  • A fun recreation of George Seurat’s painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jette. The photo was staged back in 2006, but I hadn’t seen it until it popped up on Reddit a few days ago. I find it amusing that people have been posting lyric fragments from Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park With George in notes on the photo. There’s also a side-by-side comparison of the painting and the recreation.