Cloud Corona and Contrail

March 01, 2005


Provided and copyright by: Nikki Soppelsa
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster; Nikki Soppelsa

The photo above showing a shimmering cloud corona, juxtaposed next to a jet contrail, was taken from Berea, Ohio on New Year's Day (2005). Like all coronae, the cloud corona is a diffraction phenomenon, which results from the interference of sunlight (or moonlight) about water droplets. It's frequently mis-identified as a rainbow. A contrail's length is a good indication of the amount of moisture in the mid to upper levels of the troposphere -- on this day it was quite moist.

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