1. Volcanic lightning
Volcanic lightning at Mount Sakurajima, Japan. Kyodo/Reuters
2. Fire rainbows — sorry, we mean ‘circumhorizon arcs’
A fire rainbow in Pennsylvania fishhawk/Flickr
Circumhorizon arcs – or fire rainbows as
they’re popularly known, have nothing
to do with fire themselves.
They’re just a trick of the light, and form
when sunlight passes through a specific
type of icy clouds.
A bird flies underneath an atmospheric phenomenon known as a “sun dog” in the sky over Seaside Heights, New Jersey, May 14, 2013. Lucas Jackson/Reuters
Halos are similar to fire rainbows in the
sense that they’re also formed due to
the bending of sunlight when it passes
through ice formations
In this case however, the light bends in
such a way that it creates a ring, or
“halo” in the sky.
Penitentes in front of the Atacama Large Millimeter/ submillimeter Array telescope and the Licancabur volcano in northern Chile. European Southern Observatory/Flickr
Penitentes are an ice formation that
usually takes place in high- altitude
areas. They are created due to a process
called sublimation, where water turns
directly into vapours from ice, instead of
melting into the liquid state first.
Penitentes can be very high and reach
up to 15 feet, reflecting the light in long
5. Pele’s hair lava
Pele’s Hair (field of view ~3 cm across) – Pele’s hair refers to extremely long threads of brownish- to blackish-colored basalt glass (sideromelane & tachylite). It forms as very fluid basalt lava spray is stretched while airborne. Achneliths (Pele’s tears – the small, black, glassy structures) are often found attached to one end of individual threads. Multiple threads can be found attached to some achnelith masses. James St. John/Flickr
The most popular region for Pele’s Hair
is the island of Hawaii, but this
phenomena is not just limited to Hawaii,
but is also found in some mountains in
Italy and Ethiopia too. Basically, Pele’s hair is shards of basalt glass (sideromelane & tachylite) that blew around in the wind after a volcano and cools down mid-air, forming thin, hair-like bunches. They’re named after the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes, but in different parts of the world, this hair-like glass has different names.