Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty
Blogs

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

A fun picture for holiday travel

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

22-11-2005 14:37 CST

Topics: pretty pictures, fun, Earth, atmospheres

A fun NASA explainer just crossed my email inbox and I thought I'd share it. Here in the U.S. millions of people (including me) are about to board airplanes to travel to visit family for the Thanksgiving holiday, which occurs on Thursday, the 24th. Many of us will irritate our fellow passengers by keeping our windows open, spoiling others' view of the movie but taking advantage of the opportunity to see Earth from the air. I never get tired of watching landforms pass by my window. Anyway, even if you can't see any land because of clouds, you can see some pretty cool optical effects if the Sun is on the correct side of the airplane. Here's one example:

A multi-ring glory surrounds an aircraft's shadow

Philip Laven

A multi-ring glory surrounds an aircraft's shadow
Glories are often seen from aircraft. Get a seat opposite the sun and watch them ring the aircraft's shadow - or more accurately, where your own shadow would be. These rings are formed when light is scattered backwards by individual water droplets in the cloud. The more uniform the size of the cloud droplets, the more rings you will see. They swell and contract as you travel over clouds with smaller or larger droplets.

There are lots more interesting optical effects that can be seen from aircraft. Since I will be one of those holiday travelers I will not likely be adding entries to this weblog very frequently over the next few days until I return to work on the 29th. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

 
See other posts from November 2005

 

Or read more blog entries about: pretty pictures, fun, Earth, atmospheres

Comments:

Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

Advocacy

Election 2016

Space rarely makes a strong showing in national elections, despite the major state of transition NASA finds itself in today.

Help us catalog and source statements made by candidates referring to civil space issues.

Learn More

Featured Images

Tiny grains of Martian sand
Fine and coarse fractions of Namib dune sand
Six Curiosity self-portraits
Long-distance observations of the base of Mount Sharp with Mastcam and ChemCam, sol 1240
More Images

Featured Video

Asteroid Day 2016 Press Conf. with Bill Nye

Watch Now

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join the New Millennium Committee

Let’s invent the future together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!