Clouds: Beauty or Beast?

Amateur astronomers, professional astronomers and astronomy enthusiasts agree that the atmosphere is their worst enemy (aside from sky glow or light pollution) during observations. Clouds are the main reason for canceled observing sessions. The weather is unpredictable and beyond our control so one cannot do anything but wait until the sky clears up.

Moreover, thick clouds at night are a pain in the ass. And, I’ve been seeing them for more than 4 months now. They are huge, reddish orange clouds that move slowly or quickly depending on the wind’s velocity. At worst, they appear motionless and resemble a “comforter” covering everything in the sky including the full moon.

Clouds can be a formidable obstacle for the budding astronomer, and one hell of a nuisance for the astrophotographer.


On the other hand, after reading articles found in the atmospheric optics website, I learned that clouds aren’t that bad – especially cirrus clouds. This realization lead to a new interest – that is, to hunt for atmospheric phenomena and if possible, image them. Yeah… yeah I know I’m getting weird again. But hey aren’t crepuscular rays, anti-crepuscular rays, rainbows, sun & moon halos, and cloud shapes, amazing? ūüėÄ So far, I have seen some of these spectacular sights but I have never tried to image them before. Ever since I got interested in atmospheric optics, I always tried my best to catch one… kahit isa lang hahaha! :D. Unique & different cloud shapes are easy to spot but Sun & Moon halos are rare because they are formed through the orientation of ice crystals – usually associated with cirrus clouds and cold temperature. The Philippines is situated near the equator, making ice crystals rare.

I will start uploading pictures as soon as I catch and image rainbows, sun and moon halos, and planet pillars. I really hope I can get one before the year ends.

Merry Christmas to everyone! ūüėÄ

~ by Stella's Gaze on July 25, 2008.

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