The weather has been known to do all kinds of weird and wonderful things,
some of which are incredibly hard to imagine without seeing them.
Some weather phenomena are much rarer than others however and some of them are so strange it’s hard to believe they’re real.
That said, here are eight such phenomena…
1. Sprites, Jets & Elves
Sprites (red in colour), jets (most often blue in colour) and elves (most often purple in colour) are all incredibly rare types of lightning that occurs high in the Earth’s atmosphere, just on the edge of space.
For the most part, the blasts (which in the case of elves can become up to 185 miles wide) tend only to last for less than a second, often making people think they simply imagined the flash of colour in the sky. They can however be seen by the naked eye in daylight hours.
2. The Green Flash
Often referred to as the Green Ray, the Green Flash appears very briefly either before total sunset or just after sunrise. The phenomenon appears as a small green flash or ray which hovers just above the sun and last for only a few seconds at a time. This incredible occurrence is caused by the refraction of light in the atmosphere.
3. Ball Lightening
Ball lightening is an extremely rare phenomenon which only appears in ideal circumstances. The ball-shaped lightening moves much slower than regular lightening and ranges in size from an inch to right feet in diameter. The odd occurrence can cause great damage and there are even reports of the phenomenon destroying entire buildings.
4. Sun Pillars
The phenomenon that is sun pillars occurs when the setting sun reflects off icy clouds which are high in the atmosphere. This creates a startling pillar of lights which stretches high into the sky until the sun finally sets or moves out of the ideal position. It is also possible to see moon pillars in prime circumstances too.
5. Fire Tornado
Fire tornados, also known as fire whirls, firnados and fire devils, are a whirlwind which are induced by fire and are often made up of flames. They occur when rising heat meets turbulent air, creating whirling eddies of air which are often smothered by fire. Thankfully, they rarely form into full-blown tornadoes however they are still incredibly destructive, especially if they occur amidst wild fire.
Similar to rainbows, haloes are formed around the sun and are caused by moisture (ice crystals in the case of haloes) being refracted by the suns rays in the upper atmosphere. Often, more than one area of the circles or arcs which surround the sun will appear brighter, forming what is called a sun dog. Haloes can sometimes also form around the moon or, in ideal circumstances, around extremely bright stars and planets such as Venus.
A mirage occurs when light is bent to produce a displaced image of objects (frequently bodies of water) in the distance which often appear to be floating just above the horizon. The phenomenon is a type of optical illusion which usually appears above hot surfaces. In contrast to a hallucination, mirages are truly there and can be captured on camera, though they still remain a trick of the light and eye.
8. Moon Bows
While rainbows are incredibly common and are caused by the sun shining on droplets of moisture, moon bows are much rarer. They appear only when the moon is full to almost low and when it hangs low in the sky.