Circumzenithal Arc, Supralateral Arc and More

January 23, 2010

20100123 – Saturday - Circumzenithal Arc, Supralateral Arc and More

Photographer: Lisa Gonnelli
Summary Author: Lisa Gonnelli; Jim Foster

The photo above showing several jaunty arcs was captured over Pilesgrove, New Jersey during the afternoon of November 9, 2009. These colorful curves may result when differently shaped ice crystals (six-sided plate shaped crystals and columnar crystals) in cirrus type clouds are aligned in a similar manner. At top is a circumzenithal arc. Touching this bright arc and curving downwards is a rare supralateral arc. Lower in the picture is an upper tangent arc and just above this is a very faint Parry arc. For more details on how these arcs are formed see the Earth Science Picture of the Day for December 2, 2009.

Pilesgrove, New Jersey coordinates: N39.650833, W75.316111