Figure 1. Scranton sunset, 02 October 2021. Photo: author.

Scranton had a glorious sunset tonight. I had high hopes for some altocirrus present throughout the day, but we owe the show to some stratocumulus that came in just about sunset. The latter did not extend all the way to the horizon, so that as the sun set it illuminated the bumpy underside of the cloud layer offering the mottling of ruddy oranges. There were patches all over the sky, all the way to the horizon at my back.

Most astonishing was a series of virgae (rainfall that does not reach the ground but hangs like a comma below the cloud) that caught the light; you can just spot them in high resolution in the middle ground (middle air?) because of the different character of the light compared to that reflecting off of the clouds. I’ve cropped to highlight them in figure 2.

Figure 2. Virgae descending from clouds at sunset. Photo: author.

Nikon Z 7ii, Nikkor FX 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens. f/8, 24 mm, ISO 64, 1/15 s. RAW processing by DxO, editing by Luminar AI. The unlit clouds have been darkened a few percent to provide contrast for the oranges, which are true to what I saw. What no editing can restore is the shimmer of the virgae.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Scranton, PA

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