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Astonishing Nature Phenomena

Below you find a variety of astonishing nature phenomena that I was lucky to capture during my years as a photographer. 


Fog waves

A sea of fog is in constant flux due to differences in temperature and pressure. Just as in the ocean, a sea of fog is subject to waves.

Light pillars

A light pillar is an atmospheric optical phenomenon that appears above a light source in form of vertical beams. Most often light pillars are seen when flat hexagonal shaped ice crystals reflect lights. Plate crystals generally cause pillars only when the sun is within 6 degrees of the horizon; column crystals can cause a pillar when the sun is as high as 20 degrees above the horizon.

Even though these ice crystals are commonly in much higher clouds, they can float in lower levels close to the ground when it gets extremely cold. They are an optical illusion caused by ice crystals in the cold air.


Aurora borealis

Auroras are the result of disturbances in the magnetosphere caused by the solar wind. Major disturbances result from enhancements in the speed of the solar wind from coronal holes and coronal mass ejections. These disturbances alter the trajectories of charged particles in the magnetospheric plasma. These particles, mainly electrons and protonsprecipitate into the upper atmosphere (thermosphere/exosphere). The resulting ionization and excitation of atmospheric constituents emit light of varying colour and complexity. The form of the aurora, occurring within bands around both polar regions, is also dependent on the amount of acceleration imparted to the precipitating particles.

Noctilucent clouds and comet

Noctilucent clouds, or night shining clouds, are tenuous cloud-like phenomena in the upper atmosphere of Earth. When viewed from space, they are called polar mesospheric clouds (PMCs), detectable as a diffuse scattering layer of water ice crystals near the summer polar mesopause. They consist of ice crystals and from the ground are only visible during astronomical twilight. Noctilucent roughly means "night shining" in Latin. They are most often observed during the summer months from latitudes between ±50° and ±70°. Too faint to be seen in daylight, they are visible only when the observer and the lower layers of the atmosphere are in Earth's shadow, but while these very high clouds are still in sunlight.


Rainbow during sunset

A rainbow is an optical phenomenon. It is caused by refraction, internal reflection and dispersion of light in water droplets resulting in a continuous spectrum of light appearing in the sky. The rainbow is always seen on the opposite site of the sun; also it's height is never above the height of the sun.

Moon rainbow with aurora

This is one of the rarest phenomena I've ever witnessed.

A rainbow needs rain and sun at the same time while aurora needs a clear sky. The light source here was the full moon, it was raining and some cloud-free spot gave a beautiful view to the aurora. This moment lasted only for less than five minutes.


Full double rainbow

A double rainbow is actually not that rare. They occur when the light reflects double in a raindrop. This double reflection creates a double arc.

Sun halo with sundogs

Like many other phenomena this is also an optical phenomenon which is produced when light interacts with ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere. Halos can have 22° or 46° and are often accompanied by sun-dogs and different arcs.


Fog bow

A fog bow is the same phenomenon as a rainbow, just that it appears in fog and not in rain; it is also referred as to a white rainbow. Due to the very small size of below 0,05mm of the water drops that cause fog, they have a lot less color or are even white.

Airglow and milkyway

Airglow is also an optical phenomenon which originates from self-illuminated gases. This nightglow is a faint emission of light by a planetary atmosphere. If it is the Earth's atmosphere the night sky never becomes completely dark even if stars and diffused sunlight are removed.

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Fire devil

A fire devil, also referred to as fire tornado, is a fire induced whirlwind. It initiates with a whirl of wind and may occur when intense rising heat and turbulent wind conditions combine to form whirling fluid dynamics of air, made visible by ashes.

Meteor shower

The Perseid meteor shower always peaks in August. This is a collection of long exposures during that peak.


Milky way

The gas around the Milky Way rushes like a headwind toward and around this bundle. While the stars ignore the headwind, passing straight through it, the gas pushes into the wind to generate a bow shock that extends three times the size of the dwarf galaxy. (skylandtelescope)

Shelf cloud

A shelf cloud is a low, horizontal, wedge-shaped arcus cloud that is usually attached to a base of a parent cloud that is often a thunderstorm cumulonimbus. It could transform to any type of convective cloud. While the underside of a shelf cloud can often appear as turbulent and wind-torn; in the outer part of a shelf cloud rising air motion can often be observed.

Cool, sinking air from a storm cloud's downdraft spreads out across the land surface. It's leading edge is called a gust front. This outflow cuts under warm air being drawn into the storm's  updraft. A cloud which often rolls with the different winds above and below (wind shear) is created when the water condenses while the lower and cooler air lifts the warm and moist air..


Moon halo and aurora

A rare combination since the full moon is a very intense light source that often outshines the aurora. Only when the aurora is very strong it can be seen against the moonlight. The moon had a beautiful halo during this night.

Fog waves and purple light

A beautiful and very clear night with fog waves and purple light before sunrise; Mont Blanc and the Alps are seen in the background.

The view that morning was over 300km.


Polar stratospheric clouds

Polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) are clouds in the winter polar stratosphere that occur at altitudes of 15,000–25,000 m. Their best observation time is during civil twilight, when the sun is between 1 and 6 degrees below the horizon. In the very northerly latitudes they can often be observed during the entire day in winter since the sun is very low above or below the horizon. There are two main types of PSCs:

One type of the polar stratospheric clouds is mostly made up of super-cooled droplets of water and nitric acid and is implicated in the formation of ozone holes.

The other type consists only of ice crystals which are not harmful. This type of clouds is also referred to as nacreous (nacre) or mother of pearl due to its iridescence.

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