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Amazing Clouds You Have To See To Believe (Explained With Science)

Amazing Clouds You Have To See To Believe (Explained With Science)

Clouds are so amazing. Every day, the world is host to a million spectacles that would make even the most skilled artists throw away their brushes. It’s almost as though the planet lets its breath go on a cold day. These moisture formations hang in the air, sometimes daintily and sometimes threateningly.

While everyone has seen common types like stratus and cirrus, there exist cloud formations that I bet you’ve never even dreamed of!

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Polar Stratospheric Clouds

Courtesy of Alan Light

    Also known as Nacreous clouds, from the French “nacre” (meaning Mother of Pearl), these clouds boast not just a fantastic shape and size, but also washes of color that paint across the sky like brush strokes. However, with their beauty also comes thorns. Nacreous clouds are formed in the stratosphere of the Polar extremes. Due to their altitude, they receive light from the sun even after it has  descended far beyond the horizon. They form far up enough that their crystalline shape allows chlorine to react rather than stay in its normally-inert form, which isolates chemicals that normally defend the ozone from destruction. In essence, these clouds are anti-sunblock for the planet.

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    Noctilucent Clouds

    Courtesy of Janne Foo

      Interestingly, these clouds have only been documented after 1883’s eruption of the volcano Krakatau. They can only be observed a few minutes between day and night, when it’s just too dark to see properly. Theories as to why these clouds exist come from the fact that the eruption sent ash 80 kilometers into the sky. This fine ash allowed the formation of moisture particles around it. Now, without the ash in the sky, these clouds still exist, possibly because of the pollution from industrial plants. They are the highest known clouds in Earth’s atmosphere. They require dust or other microparticles, water vapour, and incredible cold temperatures in order to form.

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      Fire Rainbows

      Courtesy of Jeff Kubina

        Officially called a Circumhorizontal Arc, these formations are not actual fire but definitely are rainbow-like, in a technical sense. This phenomenon is observable when plate-shaped ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere, either in cloud form or free-floating, are hit by sunlight at just the right angle, and refract like a prism. While technically not a cloud themselves, they can take place in clouds, like the recent ones captured in South Carolina.

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        Altocumulus Castelanus Clouds

        Courtesy of Raymond Shobe

          A cursory glance at these clouds will have you expecting the giant sky jellyfish invasion any second. It is because of their strange appearance that they are colloquially called Jellyfish Clouds. These clouds are formed when two layers of very dry air sandwich a layer of moist air. Basically, warm air rises through the moist layer, forming water vapor particles. Those particles gain enough mass to be too heavy to continue rising, and plunge back down toward the moist air layer, where they gather more of the water from that layer and fall as rain. However, the dry air below the moist layer causes the rain to evaporate before it hits the ground, creating the tentacle-like rain-cloud formation under the pillowy body formation.

          Featured photo credit: Kevin Dinkel via farm4.staticflickr.com

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          Last Updated on January 21, 2020

          The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

          The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

          Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

          your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

            Why You Need a Vision

            Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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            How to Create Your Life Vision

            Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

            What Do You Want?

            The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

            It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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            Some tips to guide you:

            • Remember to ask why you want certain things
            • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
            • Give yourself permission to dream.
            • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
            • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

            Some questions to start your exploration:

            • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
            • What would you like to have more of in your life?
            • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
            • What are your secret passions and dreams?
            • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
            • What do you want your relationships to be like?
            • What qualities would you like to develop?
            • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
            • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
            • What would you most like to accomplish?
            • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

            It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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            What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

            Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

            A few prompts to get you started:

            • What will you have accomplished already?
            • How will you feel about yourself?
            • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
            • What does your ideal day look like?
            • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
            • What would you be doing?
            • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
            • How are you dressed?
            • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
            • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
            • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

            It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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            Plan Backwards

            It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

            • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
            • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
            • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
            • What important actions would you have had to take?
            • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
            • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
            • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
            • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
            • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

            Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

            It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

            Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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