Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Hand of God

It has been dubbed the ‘Hand of God’. Credit: Caters News Agency

It looks like a fireball has been travelling through the sky. An apocalyptic setting, if you ask me.
Actually, it is just a cloud illuminated in red and orange and it appeared over the Portuguese island of Madeira last week.
Weather blogger Rogerio Pacheco, 32, looked up into the clouds on Monday and saw a cloud formation resembling, in his words, "the hand of God". And he grabbed his camera to take a photo.
And in case you think the end of the world is upon us, there is a perfectly good explanation for this.
The BBC weather meteorologist Aisling Creevey explains why such a spectacular "fireball" tore up the morning sky.
It might surprise you that clouds with this type of structure are quite common, she says, but we usually don’t have the luxury of seeing them in this way.
The reason the cloud appeared like this was because light from the sun caught onto a clump of cloud at a lower altitude just as it came into contact with cloud higher up.
There are three layers of clouds, she explains. And this fireball seems to be mixing some layers. The dark features for instance, appear to be clouds at a "middle” altitude – 2,400- 6,100m – called altostratus clouds. In fact, clouds like this might be above us all the time, but we usually cannot distinguish the differing shades of grey from each other very clearly.

"This cloud is no more complex than normal but just happens to [have been photographed at] the exact moment that the light was caught," says Creevey. She adds that the cloud would not have appeared like this for long, possibly only a couple of minutes.

Another meteorologist, Emma Sharples from the UK Met Office agrees. She says: "I think the presence of a rising sun has made [it] appear more striking than the clouds alone would appear. We think they are probably cumulus clouds [cauliflower-shaped and fluffy], so pretty common, but enhanced by the light conditions".

To put it simply, Pacheco was extremely lucky to have witnessed the fireball and captured its spectacular image.

On Saturday, Division P organized an Effective Speech Evaluation Workshop at Berjaya University-College of Hospitality. I was one of the four facilitators.

Overall, it was a good session but the organization was found wanting. Fortunately, for us, one BUCH individual had stepped forward to ensure things proceeded smoothly. One amazing Toastmaster! 

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