Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Recent Sunset Walk

I still try to get in a brisk walk every day, though it has been difficult during the winter with the early sunset. I generally don't walk after dark, mostly because drivers can't see you... On Monday, there was just enough time after getting home from work to get in a quicky before leaving for the astronomy club's astro-photo meeting at a local restaurant.

But as I left the house, I went back for the camera - there were some really interesting clouds, and it might get pretty about sunset. They were mostly mid-level stratocumulus, but with trailing virga or cirrus-type attachments. They looked all the world like jellyfish or something. There were a few interesting foreground objects - some tall palm trees and a cholla cactus. It was a much more pleasant evening than a lot of the country was enjoying. We had temps in the 60s, while many of our friends and families in the Midwest are very near zero (F).

As I rounded a corner and headed for home, there was a nice display of anti-crepuscular rays headed towards the NE away from the sun. Here is a contrast-enhanced version to bring out the details, but they are dark rays (actually shadows of clouds in the west) that appear to converge. Of course, the sun is at infinity, so the long shadows seen from our perspective are similar to railroad tracks that converge in the distance.

The final turn for home and the now-set sun was still illuminating the clouds with a range of colors from reds to oranges. Not a spectacular sunset, but very pretty, and the clouds made it interesting.

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