The Caretaker's Concern 11/1/08
Lake Temp. 52 F.
Ghetto temp. 44F.
Island tmp. 45 F. Yesterday's L/H: 34/55 F.
Current conditions: Mostly calm night, mild wind from the North East, few if any clouds, mostly clear sky, stars rather bright, about as bright as can be expected for this time of year, still a number of people still in the area, thus still a bit of light pollution. Wood smoke accents the wind, blowing in from a property in the area of the Narrows. The wind was from the Narrows all day, blowing rather fast throughout the day. Come early evening it began to slowly settle down, come nightfall it has been a mere whisper so far causing but a gentle lapping of the water along the shore.
For the most part the Caretaker's day was rather uneventful, most of his morning was spent culling bad photos from his hard drive to make way for plenty more bad photos (and the occasional few good ones that he lucks out on). His afternoon wasn't too exciting either, moved a refrigerator, an oven, some lawn furniture, collected old magazines for the dump, etc. It certainly wasn't a bad day by any means, just not all that exciting, which is, pretty much what the Caretaker had planned for.
And so, now, without further digression, the Caretaker presents: The Rare Thing of Beauty as Sighted from his Wreck of a Car on Route 254 (it is 254, he checked a map) While heading West towards the Northway to go home.
So the Caretaker is rambling along in the slow lane, never wanting to push his wreck of a car too much, when for some reason he glances up at the sky, not sure what it is he has seen, but being rather impressed by it he takes his eyes off the road again to look back at the sky. No he did not see a flying saucer, but it was impressive enough to prompt him to pull over to the side of the road so he could concentrate on the sky with no worries about the road, and more importantly, the traffic. These past six months have been chuck full of solar "anomalies", up until now all of them have been just rare, but that which the Caretaker saw this past late afternoon of the 30th of November, 2008 seems to be undefinable, at least from what he has researched on it thus far (i.e. a brief search on Wikipedia). The Caretaker is certainly no expert in such things, and knows what he did not see. He did not see a sundog, the following photo is an example of a Sundog, the Caretaker photographed this from the Island.
He also knows it was most certainly not a rainbow, for an example of a full rainbow as seen from the Island scroll down to the very bottom of this blog (that is if you haven't done so in the past, side note, the rainbow photo at the bottom of this blog was taken on the 6th of October, 2008. Since the Caretaker does not currently own a panoramic lens he took two separate photos, one of each leg of the rainbow and then used stitching software to join the two photos. The software did a much better job than he expected, however, for those of you who know the Lake, not that it can be seen too easily given the small size of this photo, but if you look closely at Black Mountain you will see that it comes to a much sharper and distorted peak than as it exists in reality. The Caretaker tried running the photos through a couple times but either got the same results or worse, for the most part the photo is close enough, but someday when he gets the time he will do the stitching by hand in photoshop.) Anyway, the point is he did not see a rainbow.
The other day "Anonymous" had asked if what the Caretaker saw was "day time Aurora borealis", the Caretaker doesn't think it was that, he did do a brief bit of research on the subject and could find no reference to such a thing existing (at least not on Wikipedia, not that they are experts), but either way, if day time Aurora borealis does exist, the Caretaker is pretty sure that what he saw wasn't that.
Just now the Caretaker glanced up at his wall of books and noticed a reference book that he thought was boxed up and stored. He'll be right back...
... ... ...
Riddle, solved. What the Caretaker saw has been seen before, and it has a name. The Caretaker saw: Irisation.
Apparently it is not too common, at least not in word programs, because it is marked as a misspelling of a variety of words, not like that is any measure of anything. The Caretaker will be right back, he is going to check his Dictionary...
... ... ...
Nor is the word "Irisation" in his Dictionary, however, that is probably because the word most likely falls into the subject of rarely used technical jargon.
Anyway, the definition for Irisation is dead on for describing what the Caretaker saw. Here is the definition from his reference book:
When a thin cloud of water droplets passes across the sun, it may cause a complex optical phenomenon called defraction. To the observer the thinner parts of the cloud can take on all kinds of colors. The mother-of-pearl-like effect often has many red and green highlights. The effect is most common in altocumulus clouds.
Above definition used without permission from:
"The Handy Weather Answer Book" 2nd Edition by Walter A. Lyons, Ph.D. Fellow, American Meteorological Society, Published by Visible Ink Press, ISBN 0-7876-1013-5
The Caretaker's edition of this book is from 1997, there may very well be an updated version, but even if there isn't he highly recommends this book to anyone who is even remotely interested in understanding Weather. A very easy read, the information is very accessible.
So, thus concludes the mystery, there is a name for what the Caretaker saw, Irisation. The above definition does state what he saw, but the Caretaker must say that it is rather lacking. The Caretaker is going to sign off for now, this post has gone on for much longer than he had originally planned to spend on it. However, in either tomorrow's post, or Monday's, the Caretaker will describe what it is he saw in the sky that day, for now he will say this:
"Irisation is the second coolest thing nature (Luna Moth still tops the list), but as far as weather phenomena it is absolutely the coolest thing to see. If someone ever, ever, says to you, 'Look, Irisation.' Drop whatever it is you are doing and go look, even if it is the baby and the bath water, drop it and go look."
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