Monday, September 01, 2008

Volcanic Sunsets

Ah, I think I have the answer to what was happening here. SpaceWeather.com explains:
Sky watchers across the USA and Europe are reporting unusually colorful sunsets and sunrises. The cause appears to be the August 7th eruption of the Kasatochi volcano in Alaska. The volcano hurled a massive cloud of ash and sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere; high winds have since carried the aerosols over parts of the USA and Europe, producing widespread "volcanic sunsets."

"Last night, we had another beautiful sunset here in Nebraska," reports Jerry Chab of Falls City. "Long colorful sunrays appeared and disappeared, reminding me of the Northern Lights."

That's very similar to what I observed just over a week ago. Again the picture I took.

Additionally, I've been noticing intensely bright sunsets even when there are no (normal) clouds for the sunlight to reflect off of. Tonight was a good example of that if you were out about 7:45. Even in the picture above, the light on he horizon is unusually brilliant.

I remember a similar volcanic sunset event happening in late 1982 and the sunsets were fantastic. And I'm sure its happened since then, but I remember that event in particular.

Anyway, enjoy them now.

3 comments:

JeromeProphet said...

Here's an interesting page from NASA on sunsets.

http://www.spc.noaa.gov/publications/corfidi/sunset/

rickmonday said...

JP,

I am looking for a beginners book about stars. Not necessarily how they are formed but what the different constellations have meant to civilizations over the years.

Any recommendations?

Thanks

JeromeProphet said...

Well, at this point I'd say forget about buying a book, and use the Internet, or download a free program.

Back in the day when I was memorizing the northern constellations there were books, and magazines.

Today, the resources are both free, and exhaustive.

If you have Google Earth, which I highly recommend, then you can also download the Google Sky extension for GE.

This allows you to see the sky on your monitor in a whole new way. You can make it very simple, for easy constellation and star identification, but you can use Google Sky to delve into some fantastic images which are both accurate, and interlocked with other images in 3D way. It's as if you were flying around in your very own star ship Enterprise.

Google Sky is free.