The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
-Psalm 19:1

Do you know that God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash?
-Job 37:15

Monday, September 28, 2009

As the days turn...

I've talked so much about the flooding in Atlanta that I haven't been sharing any of our explorations and happenings over the week. On Tuesday, my wonderful groom and I took a lunch time excursion in town looking for some beautiful places that we haven't been together before. We stumbled upon a neighborhood association owned private property, trespassers prosecuted pond. It was beautiful with lots of birds and such, so we enjoyed the little bit of nature in the middle of the bustling city from the legal parameters of the jeep. Frustrating. I did get some wildlife shots though.
On Wednesday, Mini-Dew and I got home in time to experience an amazing sight, which was not actually my first... blue streak/stripe across sky. I have seen this several times and wondered what caused this very interesting effect in the sky, where the dark blue strip or blue streak passes from the western horizon across the sky to the opposite horizon. I have seen it most often on clear days, and each time it has stumped me as well as some others. It seems to be a questions that has stumped many sky-gazers...
Blue Streak 1
Blue Streak 2
Blue Streak 3
Blue Streak 4
Yesterday evening I saw the same thing, and I decided to look a little harder to find out the reason for this spectacular phenomenon. I have found some suggestions that it might be Ionization trails from metorites that have penetrated upper layers of the atmosphere. My gut doesn't go along with that. It looks very much like a shadow to me. Unfortunately, all that I'm able to concretely find about this phenomena is questions asking what causes it to happen. In fact, I found this publication from 1891 noting this "Remarkable Meteorological Phenomenon Observed At Manicaland, East Africa, December 9th, 1891. By Lord Deekiiurst." This describes the phenomena to a tee!

...just before sunset, the moon having risen, and being almost directly overhead, we saw what, I thought, might prove of interest, as none of us had ever seen the like before. From the east we noticed a light blue streak in the sky very little darker than the blue of the heavens ; it was narrow at first, but gradually became broader and extended, getting darker as it did so (it got darker from the east, the densest part being in the east horizon), eventually passing between us and the moon, and being lost in the west at the point where the sun was going down. This streak seemed quite transparent, and deepened, when fully up, from a very light blue in the west to almost indigo in the east.

After sunset the streak, which was about double the breadth of a rainbow, disappeared as it had come...~source (Quarterly journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Volume 18 By Royal Meteorological Society (Great Britain), Wiley InterScience )
Yes, that's it... that which stumped Lord Deekiiurst...

So... back to the shadow theory...
The great beams which spread out fanlike from the setting Sun teach us a great deal about the atmosphere. We always see a blue streak where the clouds or mountains cast a shadow; while the surrounding region of the sunset sky is whitish, golden, purple, or even reddish, and sometimes the colors are amazingly brilliant. Thunder clouds seldom exceed the height of five miles, and yet the shadows cast by them at the time of sunset are conspicuously blue. The blue color of the shadow indicates that the predominant part of the blue light of the sky originates at great height, while the whitish, yellow, and reddish colors are confined to the lower strata of the air. The persistence of the blue color for more than an hour after sunset, when the sky light is reflected from illuminated particles in the rare medium more than one hundred miles above the Earth's surface, also strengthens this view.
~source (The Atlantic monthly, Volume 93 By Celia Thaxter, Sarah Orne Jewett, Emily Dickinson, Cairns Collection of American Women Writers)

Subordinate effects of the same kind as the blue shadow of the earth are seen in shadows of clouds and mountains on the sky. When the western sky contains massive clouds at sunset, the eastern twilight arch will be distinctly interrupted by delicate bluish rays, whose narrow lower ends all converge to a point on the edge of the arch opposite to the sun; the convergence being an effect of perspective on really parallel cloud shadows. In the same way, if an-observer stand upon a lofty mountain at sunset, he will see the shadow of the mountain rising above the eastern horizon and interrupting the twilight arch. The shadows of adjacent peaks are also sometimes seen, but less distinctly. ~source (Elementary meteorology)
So, my strong opnion is that this is some sort of shadow that reaches across the expanse of the sky at and just after sunset. If anyone has something more for me, please share.

Whew, after that excitement, on Saturday, my wonderful groom and his dear children and I went exploring by a nearby creek (I had no idea how near it was -- so glad it didn't flood back in April). So, we set out to explore and came upon a decent expanse of wooded area and a clearly defined trail. Well, that had our names all over it. We had a great time in the woods. We mostly just enjoyed the wildlife there, except the mosquitoes... I was surprised when my wonderful groom discovered a cicada skeleton.My wonderful groom's dear daughter spotted and helped me focus on the irridescent spider.Ever hear of a spittle bug??? I hadn't until Saturday.

On the ride back Sunday from bringing the kids to their mother, I asked if he minded us stopping on Salem Road to see how recovery had transpired after the February 19th, EF3 tornado hit near Boston, Georgia on that road. I wanted to show him. This is the aerial image of the area in Boston struck the hardest by the 450 yard wide EF3 tornado. This is a view of the area of woods that I took just after the tornado hit, standing by the road. 7 months later, it was hardly recognizable as the same area.All the treeshave been removed, and it's a vacant field. One thing that helped to identify that we were in the right spot were the collection of debarked trees used in ascertaining the rating... granted the pine tree was no longer wrapped around the base of this one...Here are some shots from that damage assessment.

Have a beautiful day!


  1. What blue streak?! ;) What ever is causing it, no matter, great captures! I've got some myself.

    Roatan, Honduras, 2005.
    My Blue Streak 01
    My Blue Streak 02
    My thought is shadow theory. :)

    Also, nice before after shots of the Bostan, GA area.
    Tornadoes = Craziness.

  2. The same type of blue streak was viewable in Pasadena, Texas this past weekend. It really freaked me out. I took lots of pictures and coincidentally there was a plane making dust clouds (cough) chem-trails (cough) in the same sky. Strange.


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