Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Celestial Homomentum

This is better than the Virgin Mary showing up in a tortilla.

If you were out to lunch in the Twin Cities Wednesday and saw a strange streak in the sky, you are not alone.

An unusual rainbow-colored streak appeared across the sky in the Twin Cities Wednesday afternoon.

KARE 11 meteorologist Sven Sundgaard and at least two KARE 11 photojournalists captured images of the strange streak across the sky from KARE’s parking lot just after noon in Golden Valley.

Sven’s best guess at this point is the streak is a circumhorizontal arc. A circumhorizontal arc occurs only when the sun is high in the sky (above 58 degrees) and hexagonal shaped ice crystals (high clouds or contrails only) are parallel to the horizon at that moment.

A circumhorizontal arc never occurs above or below 55 degrees latitude because the sun is never that high in the sky and rare for mid latitude locations like the Twin Cities. We see less than 200 hours between May and July of the sun at that high angle.

Sven estimates the streak was at about 15,000 – 20,000 feet in the air.

This must surely be a sign the Senate must vote Yes tomorrow on repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

HT to Todd S from Minneapolis.