ice halos and other optics

Light pillars and submoon from Mustavaara snowguns on 29/30 November 2010

There are two rules for success in seeing diamond dust halos. First you have to go where the diamond dust is. Second, when you think it is time to go home, you don’t. On many nights I am actually going back to home two three times, but turn back and get results. There should be a rule for example for the cases when the sky turns overcast: don’t go home until after you have waited minimum 1½ hours. Often ehough I have noticed how the sky has gotten soon clear again on the way home.  And you never go home when the diamond dust is on the treshold.  Treshold conditions may last hours but eventually the diamond dust develops. It may not be untill the early morning hours, but it develops.  And even if the diamond dust is not that good, you don’t go home. Change in wind direction can make dramatic changes in halos.

This night I did not have to wait for the condition to develop. The swarm was on as I arrived to the scene soon after darkfall, temperatures around -25 C.  But it was not that good, only weak pillars were seen. But I waited and eventually in the morning hours got some photos in Heinävaara, where the swarm headed from Mustavaara. Nothing spectacular but the half moon submoon was really worth the wait. It was an eerie apparition, following by your side like a messenger from beyond.

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