~ Three Bows ~ Ball Lightening
~ St. Elmo's Fire ~
~ Sainted Shadows ~ Strange Rains ~
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|Rainbow: To increase your chances of seeing a rainbow, stand facing receding rainclouds, with your back to the sun. The higher you are, the more complete the rainbow will be. It is possible to see the entire circle from an airplane.|
|Fogbow: The fine water droplets of dense fog can create a colorless fogbow. Because the fog itself is so near the land surface, the sun must be very low in the sky. Thus very early morning and very late afternoon, when a heavy fogs is present, are the best times to chase fogbows. Again, face the fog bank with the sun behind you.|
|Moonbow: This phenomena is rare
due to the necessity of perfect conditions aligning with a full moon.
Increase your chances of seeing a moonbow by getting up just before the
full moon sets when rainclouds have just passed by. This will take
some studious awareness of the moon phase, moonset time, and the weather
forecast, but it can be done.
once there, click the moon animation to return here
|The existence of ball lightening has not been universally accepted
in the scientific community. There are, however, countless anecdotal
accounts of the phenomena. I first read of this occurrence when I
was a child, in a book that also described the Jersey Devil.
I've long ago forgotten the title of this book, but many of its subjects,
including ball lightening, remain fascinating to me.
Ball lightening has been described as:
St. Elmo's Fire
|The term is familiar to most of us, but the phenomena itself is less well understood. Simply stated, St. Elmo's Fire is an electrical charge that builds at the highest points of objects beneath a thunderhead. It becomes visible as a crackling, pale blue glow in tree tops, tower tops, ship's masts, and airplane's wings. Often considered a good omen, it has, however been blamed for starting the fire that destroyed the Hindenburg. It is most often visible after the worst of a storm has passed.|
|In early morning, on dew covered, well manicured grass, stand with your back to the sun. Your shadow should stretch out in front of you. If conditions are right, you may see a halo of white light surrounding your shadow.|
|Brocken specter||*"A ... phenomena frightened ... early mountaineers who reached the
fog-shrouded peak called Brocken, in Germany's Hartz Mountains. Frightened
climbers returned from the mountain and told of a bizarre apparition they
had seen climbing along with them near the peak. The stories were
quickly added to ancient legends of the Brocken peak of the Hartz Mountains
as the place where witches gathered on Walpurgis Night, a legend Goethe
used in the witches' sabbath scene in Faust."
The phenomena seems to be explained by the foggy conditions of the peak. Apparently, the climber's own shadows were enlarged and cast upon clouds and fog banks. The apparition can appear above, below or beside the climber.
|Brocken bow||Sometimes, the water droplets within the fog act as a prism and cause the phantom shadows to have a rainbow-like halo.|
|Glories||A similar phenomena can be observed when you stand facing a low fog bank with the sun behind you. A glory consists of colored bands around the head of your shadow, if the conditions are right.|
The following table contains information gathered from the web and from the excellent book,
It's Raining Frogs and Fishes by Jerry Dennis.
'Don't ask me what I believe, cuz I don't rightly know.'
|1947||Marksville, LA||fish, 2-9"|
|1941||Yuma, AZ||a clam
(reported by The New York Post)
|1901||Tiller's Ferry, SC||little fish (perch, trout, cat, etc.)|
|1896||Baton Rouge, LA||dead ducks, catbirds & woodpeckers|
|1894||Vicksburg, MS||a hailstone containing a turtle|
|1893||Paderborn, Germany||pond mussels|
|1882||Dubuque. IA||a hailstone containing two live frogs|
|1877||Memphis, TN||live snakes (closer examination revealed that this "rain"
was actually worm lizards washed from a newly excavated
roadbed by heavy rainfall.)
|1830||Jelapur, India||fish weighing up to six pounds|
|1824||New York City, NY||small fish|
Much of the information on these pages was
It's Raining Frogs and Fishes
by Jerry Dennis.
Unless otherwise noted, all direct quotes can be attributed to him.
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Lightening photograph animation from