February 7, 2009


Have you ever seen an "icebow" before? Well I have.

Last Saturday morning, on our way to Texas, we were driving down Hwy 30 leaving eastern Idaho. This highway passes around the southern end of the Tetons and much of the country is uninhabited, or appears so. It was foggy that morning, but starting to lift. As we were driving through the a town, you could actually see the air sparkling with miniscule bits of ice in it. It was magical. It looked like God was sprinkling glitter into the air.

And as the sun crested the mountains, we were fortunate to be presented with a beautiful show, an icebow. It was so wide that I couldn't get both sides into one picture, but maybe you can get the idea. I looked it up, and beleive it is most similar to what Wikepedia is calling an "Icebow." The statement below was copied from that source. I have documented the source below it with a link to the quote and also a link to a photograph of another icebow that looks similar to what we were seeing.

"An icebow is phenomenon similar to a rainbow except that it is formed by the refraction of sunlight through cloud suspended ice crystals as opposed to raindrops or other liquid water suspended in the air. Generally the appearance is as arc sections as opposed to a full circle. Brighter sections usually occur above, below, and lateral to the center (where the sun is visible). These bright areas are referred to as "sun dogs," "parhelia" (plural), or mock suns because of their bright appearance and possible confusion with the actual location of the sun. Those icebows that are caused by very small ice crystals are one colour, because diffraction blurs the colours together. A 22 degree icebow has red on the inside and blue on the outside."

Our icebow:

The real sun is on the right in the first picture. The bright spot on the left is a "sundog" and the second picture is of the right hand side "sundog" that wouldn't fit into the original photograph. We couldn't see the top of the bow very easily, but it was faintly there at one time. The sun with its two "sundogs" were blinding, but beautiful.


Meagan said...

WOW! I've never heard of anything like that before!!! Very cool!

The Allens said...

That is so neat!! Thanks for sharing!