A Pleasant Day

2009-04-10 12:28:07.000 – Mike Finnegan,  IT Observer

Sun Pillar Sunset

The weather on the summit yesterday proved to be quite nice. I can only speak from experience as to the latter 12 hours of the day, but it sounds like the morning was beautiful as well. The reason for the afternoon experiences was due to a change in our daily schedule here on the Rockpile. Ryan, the typical night observer, is on vacation this week so Brian and I have elected to work a bit of a different shift – Brian the AM hours and myself the PM. The afternoon was a nice mix of sun and clouds. Happy little clouds drifted just out of reach of the summits, but looking over to Jefferson and Adams, we were able to follow their course by their shadows moving across the otherwise sunlit alpine landscape. Sunset followed and proved to be quite spectacular, even displaying a sun pillar that shot up in front of the clouds. It had been a while since I’d seen one of those. Not long after the sunset, the full moon climbed above the eastern horizon colored a brilliant red through the clouds. As the night wore on, the moon rose higher in the sky. After a few hours time, I went out for another observation, walking to the far end of the deck. I found something I don’t believe I had seen before – a moon pillar. A long beam of silver light shot up towards to moon from the valley below. It was striking and beautiful. Unfortunately it was also short lived. By the time I had finished slinging the psychrometer, the optical effect had passed, leaving behind a bright, full moon to color the white snow with a bluish tinge, only being interrupted by wispy clouds floating over the summit which it colored like a dull rainbow. Quite a pleasant ending to quite a pleasant day.


Mike Finnegan,  IT Observer

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