Unusual sunset cloud formations captured on camera

Unusual lenticular cloud formations over the Mount Maunganui beach at sunset on Good Friday. Photo: Stephanie Martelli.

Visitors to Tauranga have been enjoying stunning weather and sunsets over the Easter weekend.

On Easter Friday a lenticular cloud formation at sunset brought out photographers to capture the spectacular display.

Stephanie Martelli was on the beach at Mount Maunganui when the sky burst into brilliant pinks, golds and purples.

Lenticular clouds usually don't move and form mostly in the troposphere, the lowest layer of the Earth's atmosphere. 

These clouds can form when stable warm air flows over a mountain or range of mountains. 

Sunset and cloud formation on Good Friday at Whakamarama. Photo: Kevin Flutey.

Kevin Flutey was in Whakamarama on Good Friday when he noticed the cloud formation overhead, and took a photograph which shows the stunning effect of the setting sun's rays on the formation.

The colours of a sunset result from a phenomenon called scattering. Molecules and small particles in the atmosphere change the direction of light rays, causing them to scatter.

Because the sun is low on the horizon, sunlight passes through more air at sunset and sunrise than during the day, when the sun is higher in the sky. More atmosphere means more molecules to scatter the violet and blue light away from your eyes. If the path is long enough, all of the blue and violet light scatters out of your line of sight. The other colours continue on their way to your eyes. This is why sunsets are often yellow, orange, and red.

As red has the longest wavelength of any visible light, the sun can appear more red when it’s on the horizon, where its extremely long path through the atmosphere blocks all other colours.

The MetService are forecasting further fine weather for Tauranga over the next few days with some morning and evening cloud. On Thursday a few showers are likely. And no doubt photographers will have cameras handy ready to catch more unusual cloud formations at sunset.

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1 Comment


Posted on 06-04-2021 11:04 | By morepork

Thanks for sharing.

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