This night conditions were overcast and we were watching halos in spotlight beam. But there was a moment when clouds all turned into ice crystals, allowing moon shine bright and make a passable display. We switched off the spotlight and managed to take some photos before it got cloudy again. Camera lenses were frosted, which caused some blurred areas and bright dots in the images.
Jarmo Moilanen, Marko Mikkilä, Marko Riikonen
Here the spotlight is still on, making its own halos.
During last year’s meeting of the German halo observers, we decided to drive on top of Mt. Klínovec (Keilberg) after dinner on Nov 27th, 2015. We used the car headlights as light sources for glittering diamond dust displays from ice crystals within the first few meters above the ground, while facing temperatures in the range of –5 °C to –6 °C at wind speeds of 5 – 6 bft. Simultaneously, there appeared a non-glittering, but slowly changing moon halo display in crystals higher up, including a “traditional” Moilanen arc:
(20:03 CET, unsharp masked, for the original image see here)
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On four out of last five winters Tapio Koski has photographed lunar diamond dust odd radius halos in the Rovaniemi area. These one-per-winter occurrences are almost solely responsible for lunar diamond dust odd radius displays photographed in Finland during those years. This winter we wanted take part in the tradition. Yet despite numerous odd radius displays we had harvested in the beam, those by the moon – or sun for that matter – were simply not coming.
Except on the night of 20/21 January, which was the month’s last diamond dust night in Rovaniemi. During the day, when driving in the city, we paid attention to Fairbanksian amber, a beautiful yellow glow in the sun direction that can be seen in cold weather and with which we became familiar on the successful halo expedition to Fairbanks in January 1996. This gave us an omen of foreboding that a night of big odd radii diamond dust was finally on the cards for Rovaniemi. Weather forecast was with us too, as the temperature was expected to drop to -33° C – the magic number that Walt Tape has given as being in the center of the temperature range favorable for odd radii.
The display appeared as some thin water cloud that had momentarily overtaken the sky cleared away. The first halo visible was upper 23° plate arc, many others soon followed the suit. In the beam only a crappy plate dominated display was visible – the pyramid stuff was higher up.
Jarmo Moilanen / Marko Riikonen
On the night of 20/21 January we got photographed oriented pyramid crystal halos in the spotlight beam on two occasions. The first occasion, shown above, got us completely unawares and the odd radii stuff was all gone in the next shot which would have had the exposure right. Colored and solid upper and lower 9° plate arcs were seen, but if they were still present when the camera was placed in the beam, they are nevertheless washed out by the overexposure. In the photo one still sees the 35° halo and lower 20° plate arc. The lower 9° plate arc was of the 23-6 type as the lamp was about 5 degrees below below horizon.
We drove around and switched on the lamp here and there, stubbornly trying to get a rerun, but to no avail. Diamond dust was already on the retreat, the air was drying up even though it was around -33° C. Yet we managed to get something just before it all evaporated, as shown by the image here:
A little simulation study as was necessary to see whether it was column (left) or plate (middle and right) pyramid stuff, but that did not give definitive answer. The plate scenario simulations are identical except that in one is 22° halo and in the other 23°. The 35° and 18/20° stuff above the lamp were initially noticed visually which prompted us take the photo series for this stack.
These last photos were taken at 3:30 am. The two photos below are the first photos of the night at 6 pm. We photographed these lunar and beam displays simultaneously. No odd radii yet at this early hour.
Marko Riikonen / Jarmo Moilanen
We look forward to your observations and numerous discussions.