Sometimes nature offers us special effects that are worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster. And when this happens, we can consider ourselves lucky, as a number of conditions have to be in place for certain rare phenomena to occur. These events, like a rainbow waterfall, can even make us wonder if we are on a different planet or living inside the plot of a fairytale.
Here at Bright Side, we love that nature surprises us. So, here we talk about some events so we can marvel, once again, at the world we live in.
1. Comet Hale Bopp was seen above the ancient stone circle of Stonehenge.
Comet Hale-Bop circled the sun in 1997 and became one of the brightest comets in history. It was a long-lasting gift crossing the sky, as it could be seen with the naked eye for more than 18 months (a record).
2. A fallstreak hole — a circle that opens in the heavens
Imagine that it’s a cold day and the horizon is full of dense clouds. Suddenly, you see a large hole that you can see the sky through. This is not an announcement of the arrival of a UFO, it is called a skypunch or a fallstreak hole. It occurs when a large number of tiny ice crystals break into the cloud layer causing the droplets to evaporate. It’s all physics, but totally magical.
3. A fog bow that looks like an albino rainbow
When seeing this rainbow, you might think that you have lost the ability to differentiate colors. Keep calm and enjoy, a fog bow is like the rainbow’s albino brother. Instead of being made of water droplets, it is made up of tiny mist particles. Since they’re smaller, they only reflect that whitish color that gives us a kind of spooky and mysterious image.
4. It’s not the sea, it’s lava on a Hawaiian beach.
In May 2018, the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii explosively erupted. It started throwing ash 30,000 feet into the air and spewed fountains of thick lava that reached the Pacific Ocean. It also traveled great distances from its origin, destroying Hawaii’s largest natural freshwater lake. It reached beaches too, filling Kapoho Bay, and extended new land nearly a mile into the sea.
5. Comet West near the Sun in 1976
Comet West was described as one of the brightest objects to pass through the inner solar system in 1976. Its nucleus split into 4 fragments, offering a spectacular image of its long tail. This was, at the time, one of the very few comet breakups that had been observed.
6. Pyroclastic flow that generates volcanic lightning.
Seeing an erupting volcano is itself overwhelming and unusual, but another extraordinary event can add to this spectacle. When a volcano erupts it sheds a pyroclastic flow, a fast-moving current of hot gas and ashes. Sometimes, the strength with which it throws these materials together, combined with the extremely high temperatures, generates an astounding lighting show.
7. A rare waterfall rainbow caught at Yosemite National Park.
It was only a lucky few who witnessed live how Bridalveil Fall, in Yosemite National Park, turned into a rainbow. This is a stunning example of the situation when sunlight reflects on water droplets under specific circumstances. It looks like Photoshop, but nature overflows with color and imagination.
8. Frozen waves were spotted on the coast of Croatia.
A fierce storm whipped up these monster waves, that then froze, in sub-zero temperatures in 2012. The sea crashed over benches and lampposts on a promenade and froze on impact. This left the seaside of Senj, Croatia, covered in solid layers of ice that looked like whipped cream.
9. The desert came back to life and turned into an explosion of flowers.
Super blooms in California typically occur once every 10 years. It requires a perfect storm of conditions: steady rain, warm temperatures, and low winds. The desert turns into a colorful painting when thousands of wildflowers blossom at roughly the same time. A wonderful gift for our eyes.
10. Sun pillars form above the sea ice on the Chukchi Sea
The reflection of light on tiny ice crystals that are suspended in the atmosphere can create a sun pillar. If the light comes from a sunset, this event that can freeze us in a beautiful moment.
11. A super blue blood moon rises behind the Parthenon temple in 2018.
Total lunar eclipses that fall on supermoons are relatively rare. In the 21st century, there are 87 total lunar eclipses, of which just 28 are supermoons. Sky gazers could see a swollen “supermoon” and lunar eclipse combined for the first time in decades, showing the moon bathed in a bright red light.
12. Iridescent clouds
If we see that the sky shines as if there were giant soap bubbles floating in it, it is not that we are having a hallucination, but that we are witnessing iridescent clouds. This otherworldly effect only occurs when very uniform water droplets diffract the sunset light.
13. The Himalayas appear for the first time in 30 years.
In April of 2020, the drastic decrease in pollution levels has given back the view of the splendid Dhauladhar mountain range. These summits are part of the Himalaya mountain range and can now be observed even from Jalandhar, 143 miles away.
14. Snowfall in spring in Tokyo
Seeing snow in Tokyo isn’t exceptional, but what made it really surprising is that it happened in April while cherry trees blossomed. Tokyo gets snow about 7.6 times per season, mainly in January and February. And this was the first spring snowfall in 32 years.
15. The midnight sunset reflected in a waterfall in Iceland.
During summer months in Iceland, the Sun remains visible at midnight local time, and witnessing a sunset at 1:30 a.m. can totally blow your mind. Capturing this moment, with just the twilight illuminating the 196 feet of the Seljalandsfoss waterfall, is just breathtaking.
Have you seen some of these spectacular gifts of nature? Tell us about the unusual events you were lucky enough to see with your own eyes!