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9 October, 2003

Fata Morgana and Sun Dogs

Our flight was cancelled once again because of the fog. It is worse for the people stuck in Christchurch and the people stuck at McMurdo, so much hinges on air traffic.

The fog though brought some interesting atmospheric displays. In the morning there was a fine snow in the air, crystals falling everywhere. Pointing toward the sun with my camera, (never, ever look at the sun with your eyes, it will burn your retina just like an ant is burned under a lens. You will go blind.), you can see two images of the sun to the right and left at 22 degrees. These are called sun dogs. It is the snow crystals that cause this effect.

Later in the afternoon the cold air had settled on the ice and there was warmer air above it. The layer acted like a mirror and light trapped below reflected toward our eyes causing a very interesting mirage know as a fata morgana.

We will try the helicopters again tomorrow, then try to drive out to one site.

Many snow crystals were in the air this morning.

Sun Dogs. Not the best picture, but it was the first time you could see them here.

Fata Morgana, normally you can see the mountains come down to the ice shelf, but now you see the bottom of the mountain in the air. It is a mirage.

Remember to shut the door!

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