Cirrus Clouds and Sunsets
We have gotten some great cloud and sunset photos lately, and occasionally they get really interesting from a science perspective. Take this set of photos from Ramona Edwards. These are cirrocumulus clouds with “virga.” Virga is precipitation that falls from a cloud but never touches the surface because the moisture evaporates in drier air beneath the cloud base.
And here’s an exceptionally unique sunset view from Bobby Martin in the Mooresville area on Wednesday evening. Notice the spiked look to the bright and dark areas radiating out of the point where the sun had just set:
While there is a little uncertainty as to the exact cause of it in this instance, this phenomenon is called “crepuscular rays” (or sometimes a “cloud shadow”) depending on who you ask.
There were some very large thunderstorms beyond the horizon at the time this photo was taken on Wednesday, and my best guess is that you’re seeing some of the brighter light from the sun being blocked by towering cumulonimbus clouds nearing the Mississippi River at sunset. Here’s a radar image from last night around this time:
Again, I’m not 100% certain that the storms were the cause of it, but that is the first thing I would look at to try to find the answer.