40 Astonishing Weather Phenomena Caught on Film

By Sophia Maddox | April 10, 2024

Parhelion

Join us we embark on a journey through the world of astonishing weather phenomena. From the awe-inspiring dance of the Northern Lights to the dramatic fury of tornadoes, nature's wonders never cease to amaze. In this series, we'll explore 40 remarkable weather events that have been caught on film, revealing the stunning beauty and power of our planet's atmosphere. Each phenomenon offers a glimpse into the fascinating forces at play in our skies, from ethereal fogbows to the explosive brilliance of volcanic lightning. Get ready to be both educated and entertained as we unravel the mysteries of weather and delve into the breathtaking moments that remind us of the Earth's incredible dynamism. So, let's embark on this meteorological adventure and discover the astonishing weather phenomena that continue to captivate and inspire us all.

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Michal Krzysztofowicz via Royal Meteorological Society / Natural History

A parhelion, also known as a "sun dog" or "mock sun," is an optical phenomenon that creates the appearance of one or more bright spots of light on either side of the sun, often forming a halo-like effect. Parhelia occur due to the refraction, or bending, of sunlight by hexagonal ice crystals in cirrus or cirrostratus clouds. These ice crystals align themselves horizontally as they fall through the atmosphere, refracting sunlight and creating the illusion of additional suns.

Parhelia are typically seen when the sun is low on the horizon, such as during sunrise or sunset. They are often accompanied by a 22-degree halo, which encircles the sun, adding to the visual spectacle.

Crepuscular rays

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Mario Widmer via Royal Meteorological Society / Natural History Museum

Crepuscular rays, often called "God rays," are a breathtaking natural event that occurs when sunlight streams through openings in clouds or other obstructions in the atmosphere. These rays appear as bright, well-defined beams of sunlight that radiate outward from the source, creating a captivating and almost mystical appearance. Crepuscular rays are most commonly observed during sunrise or sunset when the sun is low on the horizon, and the interplay of light and shadow is at its most dramatic. These rays can stretch across the sky, seeming to converge at the point in the sky where the sun is located, and they often leave onlookers in awe of the beauty of the natural world.