Saturday, 17 February 2007

Moilanen arc behaviour

We have now enough photographs of Moilanen arc to make some suppositions of the responsible crystal. As lower component of Moilanen arc does not seem to exist, the crystal must be well oriented. Straight upwards pointing wedge with ~ 34° angle seems to produce an arc that fits well with photographed cases both in shape and location.

In the image above are given simulations of Moilanen arc and 22° halo for solar elevation range of 0-35°. Also the Moilanen arc raypath through the wedge is shown. At 35° light source elevation the Moilanen arc is already disappearing and shows weakly above the 22° halo.

In free fall the depicted simple prism would hardly orient as shown. What kind of crystal causes Moilanen arc is still a mystery. Although Finnish observers have managed to sample crystals from a couple of Moilanen arc displays this winter, the crystal photos have not resulted in a breakthrough.

These images are no news to those who have an inclination to fiddle with halo simulation programs. But as nobody has given them anywhere, I thought they might be of some help for the halo community in knowing what to expect when the next diamond dust swarms in. Simulations are made with software by Mika Sillanpää and Jarmo Moilanen.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if twinned crystals could form the arc. I just hope the next time there is a display with the arc that is bright and well formed that a crystal sample gets collected.