Thursday, 1 June 2017

The all-sky display of 30th May 2017 at Pskov Oblast, Russia

The first part of this display occurred between 6-50 and 8-30 hours. During this period only the 22 halo (which accompanied by other common halos in stacks) were seen in this part of the sky. However, at the end of this period a wonderful cloud crossed the sun. This cloud gave a complex of rare halos from Parry and Lowitz orientations - on the stack I found the sharp and bright upper suncave Parry arc together with the upper Lowitz arc. I saw a part of the middle Lowitz arc, which was below the right parhelion, with the naked eye (1).

Thereafter, cirrus clouds cleared, and in satellite images no high-level clouds were visible, so I went to a bicycle training although the meteogram would predict the arrival of a new portion of cirrus in the coming hours. If I had looked at during my training, I could have seen that the air ahead of a low-pressure system after passing the Baltic sea, created fresh cirrus clouds above Estonia!

At 15-40 I found that far cirrus clouds which were visible for the last hour at the horizon, now reached the sun. At this moment I saw a colourful lower tangent arc. It was only 5 km to my house , so I accelerated in order to be in time to photograph it. However, a few minutes later I saw a large scale complex in the sky - above the sun there also appeared an upper tangent arc, both parhelia, and a full parhelic circle! The last few kilometers I rode as fast as I could. Luckily, I not too late!

16-17. All three Lowitz arcs are in one image. The B-R version is available here
Visually, it seemed to me that the bright parhelic circle contained a red fringe, which also surrounded a diffuse 120 parhelion. Blue minus red versions of some stacks clearly show this diffraction effect (2).  The cirrus clouds were beautiful, they contained not only a smooth veil, but also sharp textures like virga. What they are fresh was seen with the naked eye.

After half an hour, the bright parhelic circle disappeared, when clouds which produced it, drifted to the south-east direction. The upper tangent arc then started to get brighter. At this time I also saw visually both the infralateral arc and the 46 halo above the sun from the 11-00 to 01-00 positions. The complex became less bright after one hour, but at the same time, fragments of a distant parhelic circle was still visible.

Thereafter, I could see only a split upper tangent arc. With the naked eye I could not understand what it is - a Parry arc or a 23 plate arc. The stack taken during this period showed an excellent odd-radius plate complex!

Below you can see the full list of halos, which I observed that day


22° halo
46° halo

odd-radius circular

9° halo
18° halo
24° halo
35° halo


upper tangent arc
lower tangent arc
supralateral arc
infralateral arc
Wegener arc

odd-radius column

9° column arc


120° parhelia
parhelic circle
circumzenithal arc

odd-radius plate

18° plate arc
upper 23° plate arc
lower 24° plate arc


upper Lowitz arc
middle Lowitz arc
lower Lowitz arc


upper suncave Parry arc

1 comment:

  1. Nice work on the halo stacks. The recent odd radius display I got last weekend would of been a perfect display to stack