photography, weather

Nephelococcygia from space (H. Michael Mogil, CCM, CBM, NWA-DS*)

On Sat., Feb. 4, 2017, I gave a talk to the Friends of Barefoot Beach. The talk centered on “Celebrating The Weather.” I decided to use cloud photography to focus the talk on the sky.

As part of the talk, I shared some cloud photography of things familiar to us. One image was a happy dog (ground perspective); another was a flying goldfish (taken from an airplane window over London).

Last evening, I was perusing some GOES (Geostationary Observational Environmental Satellite) images and came across an interesting cloud pattern, one the showed a smiley-faced storm just offshore from Washington State (Fig. 1). I’ve rotated the image clockwise 90-degrees to make the image easier to view (Fig. 2).

The term for viewing shapes in clouds is “nephelococcygia.” Loosely translated from Aristophanes’ play, “The Birds,” it means “cloud cuckooland.” Since Aristophanes lived around 400 B.C.E., I am 100 percent certain that he never considered cloud watching from some 22,000 miles above the Earth in his literary repertoire. However, interpretations from his writing indicate that Nephelococcygia was a utopian city in the clouds.

Stay tuned for more nephelococcygia stories.

© 2017 H. Michael Mogil

Originally posted 2/5/17