Clouding the issue

Just a quickie. I found this site via the S216 tutor group forum, and think it’s fabulous. Images of clouds from space, looking like you’ve never seen them before. Splendid stuff.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/05/gallery-clouds/all/1

Enjoy!

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2 responses to “Clouding the issue

  1. Right then, cloud expert (expert or not, you’re about 6 months ahead of me on the OU journey, so I seek to drink at the fountain of your knowledge).
    Yesterday evening was mainly cloudy, but with a few gaps through which the sun cast some rays. I noticed not only that the rays weren’t all parallel, but that they appeared to radiate outwards from the gap in the clouds. In fact, if the clouds were at a height of about 2000m, then the rays would have converged at about 2500m, indicating that that was the source of the light.
    Now, either my teachers were taking advantage of my youthful credulity when they joshingly said that the Sun was 93 million miles away, or the clouds are doing something to the light. Bouncing it around between the sides of the gap between them? I don’t know, but I thought you might.

  2. Hi David 🙂
    The light from the sun is bent as it enters the Earth’s atmosphere, as well as being diffracted by the clouds and other particles in the atmosphere. So, yes, all sorts of things happen to it when it arrives here on Earth.
    FYI, those rays are called crepuscular rays. Which is a good name.

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