The last sunrise of 2012

Sunrise from the deck

Sunrise from the deck — click to enlarge

This was what we saw from our deck this morning. The closer clouds are lit from the sky above, so we are looking at the darker, shadowed underside. At the same time the sun is low enough that its rays are illuminating them from beneath, giving them the pink highlights. I doubt that the first sunrise of 2013 will be as nice; rain is predicted for tomorrow.


Friday Felines

Zoe likes to lie in the sun on a cold day.

The sun is only half warm

The sun is only half warm

He’s probably wondering why it’s not as warm as it usually is.

Sylvester, on the other hand, usually chooses the bed or a bar stool.

Sylvester, thinking

Sylvester, thinking

This time it was the bed. And he was probably thinking about going to sleep.

Foggy, foggy dew

We were socked in from Christmas Eve through sometime Christmas afternoon. I went outside to walk Zeke about 10 pm and could barely see our neighbor’s outdoor Christmas tree. Late Tuesday morning we went for a longer walk down Fouche Gap Road into Texas Valley. It was very foggy.

Do you see anything down there?

I estimated the visibility to be about 100 yards. Everything was evenly lighted; there appeared to be no shadows at all, anywhere. The sky was lighter directly overhead, but it was pretty light in all directions. That means to me that the fog was not very thick overhead, so more of the sunlight made it to the ground. Think about all of those photons from the sun, flying down into the clouds, bouncing around from water droplet to water droplet. As it turns out, a good fraction bounce into the same direction they were going, and a good fraction bounce backwards. Some of them go into other directions. Eventually, if the fog is thick enough, they get pretty well confused, going pretty much in all directions, and eventually finding their way out in almost every direction, up, down, sideways. If the fog is too thick, the ones that get too deep get lost and never find their way out. That’s why most clouds look white from pretty much any direction you look at them, but thick clouds look dark from below. From the top they are as white as any other cloud.

The fog got thinner as we walked down the mountain, until at the bottom, there was almost no fog.

Pretty clear down here

Down in the valley the visibility was pretty good. The shiny metal roof of a house is visible across the valley on the side of Rocky Mountain, if you know just where to look, and you hold you mouth just right. It was probably close to a mile away.  Looking back up, the top of Lavender Mountain was hidden. So up on the top of Lavender Mountain we had fog, but from down in the valley, we had clouds.


Father Dogmas wishes you a very merry Christmas, with lots of biscuits and bones.

You’ve all been good little puppies I hope

If you have been naughty, you might open a present and get a surprise.

It’s about time you opened your presents! Bring me my tunas!

Father Dogmas’s little helper won’t wear a hat or socks, but he will consent to allow them nearby.

They don’t fit and I’m not fat

And at the end of a long day, Father Dogmas will take off his cape and lie down on his soft bed, accompanied by a fictitious dog in a green Christmas sweatshirt.

Don’t make me do this again, OK?

Solar halo

When I parked at Lowe’s this morning I looked up towards the sun and saw this.

Solar halo, possibly a parhelic halo — click to enlarge

This was taken at about 11:30, so the sun was nearly at its highest point. Since it’s just at the start of winter, the sun’s highest point is pretty low in the sky. I stood so the sun was directly behind the parking lot light fixture. There was an almost complete halo around the sun. I think it was at the same angular distance from the sun as a sundog or pahelion, but since the sun is so high there was no really bright point at the sun’s elevation above the horizon. You can see that the sky is darker inside the halo, because the ice crystals don’t reflect/refract very well into angles smaller than where the halo appears. This halo was probably caused by columnar ice crystals, which orient randomly. That allows the halo to form all the way around the sun. The clouds were coming in advance of a cold front. They were just the right thickness to make the halo visible. When I came back out about 15 minutes later, the halo was no longer visible. Of course the ice crystals were still there in the clouds, and they were refracting the same way, but the thickness of the clouds had increased so I couldn’t see it on the ground.