APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
User avatar
APOD Robot
Otto Posterman
Posts: 3962
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2009 3:27 am

APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by APOD Robot » Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:08 am

Image Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand

Explanation: What kind of clouds are these? Although their cause is presently unknown, such unusual atmospheric structures, as menacing as they might seem, do not appear to be harbingers of meteorological doom. Known informally as Undulatus asperatus clouds, they can be stunning in appearance, unusual in occurrence, are relatively unstudied, and have even been suggested as a new type of cloud. Whereas most low cloud decks are flat bottomed, asperatus clouds appear to have significant vertical structure underneath. Speculation therefore holds that asperatus clouds might be related to lenticular clouds that form near mountains, or mammatus clouds associated with thunderstorms, or perhaps a foehn wind -- a type of dry downward wind that flows off mountains. Such a wind called the Canterbury arch streams toward the east coast of New Zealand's South Island. The above image, taken above Hanmer Springs in Canterbury, New Zealand, in 2005, shows great detail partly because sunlight illuminates the undulating clouds from the side.

<< Previous APOD This Day in APOD Next APOD >>
[/b]

User avatar
fausto.lubatti
Ensign
Posts: 66
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:43 am

Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by fausto.lubatti » Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:06 am

Wonderful colours: what a great picture!!! :D

User avatar
emc
Equine Locutionist
Posts: 1235
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2007 12:15 pm
Location: Canton, GA, USA

Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by emc » Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:34 pm

Reminds me of Jupiter in a small way.

User avatar
orin stepanek
Plutopian
Posts: 5501
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 3:41 pm
Location: Nebraska

Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by orin stepanek » Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:40 pm

fausto.lubatti wrote:Wonderful colours: what a great picture!!! :D
emc wrote:Reminds me of Jupiter in a small way.
++ :thumb_up: :thumb_up: :clap: :clap: :yes: :yes: Fabulous picture 8-)
Orin

Smile today; tomorrow's another day!

User avatar
MargaritaMc
Look to the Evenstar
Posts: 1836
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:14 pm
Location: 28°16'7"N 16°36'20"W

Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by MargaritaMc » Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:21 pm

I wondered why I felt like I fancied some caramel fudge ice-cream when I viewed this Apod :D
"In those rare moments of total quiet with a dark sky, I again feel the awe that struck me as a child. The feeling is utterly overwhelming as my mind races out across the stars. I feel peaceful and serene."
&mdash; Dr Debra M. Elmegreen, Fellow of the AAAS

User avatar
MargaritaMc
Look to the Evenstar
Posts: 1836
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:14 pm
Location: 28°16'7"N 16°36'20"W

Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by MargaritaMc » Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:29 pm

On a somewhat more serious note, a query which is only tangentially related to today's Apod, but was raised during my following of the links from the text of the Apod.
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troposphere
The depth of the troposphere is approximately 17 km (11 mi) in the middle latitudes. It is deeper in the tropics, up to 20 km (12 mi), and shallower near the polar regions, at 7 km (4.3 mi) in summer, and indistinct in winter.
I've tried to discover more information about the indistinctness of the Troposphere at Polar regions, highlighted by me in the quotation above, but so far have drawn a blank.

Can anyone provide elucidation?

Margarita (who is still resisting the urge to go and buy some Haägen-Dazs ice- cream...) :roll:
"In those rare moments of total quiet with a dark sky, I again feel the awe that struck me as a child. The feeling is utterly overwhelming as my mind races out across the stars. I feel peaceful and serene."
&mdash; Dr Debra M. Elmegreen, Fellow of the AAAS

User avatar
Psnarf
Science Officer
Posts: 314
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:19 pm

Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by Psnarf » Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:57 pm

From what I can gather, the troposphere is the lowest region of the atmosphere where air temperature decreases with height (rule of thumb, 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit per 1,000ft.). In the layer above it, the stratosphere, temperature increases with height. The border between the troposphere and stratosphere is where you usually find the top of an anvil cloud of a thunderstorm.

The temperature/pressure where water vapor condenses marks the edge of a cloud. There must be a lot going on up there to form such an unusual cloud formation. Since there is no such force as 'warm/moist air rises', the only force at work is gravity which has a greater force on cold/dry air, which is more dense than dry air. As the dry air gets pulled down by gravity, it replaces any moist air below it, pushing it up. How those simple facts of physics created that cloud formation will remain a mystery to me for a very long time; I have to rely on atmospheric physicists to figure it out.

User avatar
Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
Posts: 15072
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:46 pm

I can't hear undulatus asperatus without picturing Harry Potter waving his wand...
Chris

*****************************************
Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
http://www.cloudbait.com

User avatar
MargaritaMc
Look to the Evenstar
Posts: 1836
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:14 pm
Location: 28°16'7"N 16°36'20"W

Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by MargaritaMc » Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:58 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:I can't hear undulatus asperatus without picturing Harry Potter waving his wand...
RIDIKULUS!!
Perhaps that is what is needed to banish :spam: :lol2:

http://asterisk.apod.com/viewtopic.php? ... 50#p193552
"In those rare moments of total quiet with a dark sky, I again feel the awe that struck me as a child. The feeling is utterly overwhelming as my mind races out across the stars. I feel peaceful and serene."
&mdash; Dr Debra M. Elmegreen, Fellow of the AAAS

ta152h0
Schooled
Posts: 1372
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2005 12:46 am
Location: Auburn, Washington, USA

Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by ta152h0 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:10 pm

If you didn't have science to draw conclusions with and you wake up one morning to this, wouldn't there be some fear and imaginative creations bouncing around in your head ? Like the gods are mad ?
Wolf Kotenberg

User avatar
Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
Posts: 15072
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:22 pm

ta152h0 wrote:If you didn't have science to draw conclusions with and you wake up one morning to this, wouldn't there be some fear and imaginative creations bouncing around in your head ? Like the gods are mad ?
Which is no doubt why gods were so popular before science, and seem to be on the decline these days.
Chris

*****************************************
Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
http://www.cloudbait.com

karlheintz

Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by karlheintz » Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:25 pm

My very first thought was that these clouds look something like the cloud formations on Jupiter and Saturn. Are there any images of these types of clouds from above (satellite) and below taken simultaneously? Our view of the clouds of Jupiter and Saturn are always taken from above, but if this Asperatus structure is evident from above, then it might suggest an explanation for some of the unusual cloud formations on Jupiter and Saturn (and potentially other planets).

User avatar
LocalColor
Science Officer
Posts: 266
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2012 9:11 pm
Location: Central Idaho, USA

Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by LocalColor » Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:47 pm

Did it rain that day? This is a very curious cloud formation. It looks as though the wind has scrunched the layers together. Always something new to study! :ssmile:

User avatar
MargaritaMc
Look to the Evenstar
Posts: 1836
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:14 pm
Location: 28°16'7"N 16°36'20"W

Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by MargaritaMc » Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:17 pm

LocalColor wrote:Did it rain that day? This is a very curious cloud formation. It looks as though the wind has scrunched the layers together. Always something new to study! :ssmile:
http://cloudappreciationsociety.org/asperatus-update/
Comment on– 30 Sep 2012
I’ve been a avid weather watcher since the 70s, and have noted that, at least in New England, Asperatus seems to be associated with certain weather types. I’ve seen it when a vigorous deep low and active occluded fronts are moving in and there is little lower cloud. They move quickly and are associated with a cool surface temperature. Secondly, they can form in the cool maritime air north of coastal lows moving off the coast of New England. I have never seen them connected with any thunderstorms or thunder regimes or humid air masses (at least when I’ve viewed them). Always seems to be cool air.
Last edited by MargaritaMc on Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"In those rare moments of total quiet with a dark sky, I again feel the awe that struck me as a child. The feeling is utterly overwhelming as my mind races out across the stars. I feel peaceful and serene."
&mdash; Dr Debra M. Elmegreen, Fellow of the AAAS

User avatar
Ann
4725 Å
Posts: 10505
Joined: Sat May 29, 2010 5:33 am

Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by Ann » Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:20 pm

MargaritaMc wrote: I wondered why I felt like I fancied some caramel fudge ice-cream when I viewed this Apod :D
:lol2: :lol2: Image

The Harry Potter comparison was funny, too! I kept thinking about the Asperatus part of it - doesn't it sound like "aspire", "aspirations"? Or that the saying, "Per aspera, ad astra"? I thought "Asperatus" had something to do with hopefulness or toil and trouble. It apparently means "waves"! Oh well!
Image
Credit: Fotolia.com
To me, the picture looked like a huge somewhat brain-damaged brain, as if we were looking at the half-melted gray, now brown, convoluted matter!

Is today's APOD the picture of a brain sky? If so, whose brain is it, and what is the brain thinking?

Ann
Color Commentator

User avatar
Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
Posts: 15072
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:28 pm

Ann wrote:The Harry Potter comparison was funny, too! I kept thinking about the Asperatus part of it - doesn't it sound like "aspire", "aspirations"? Or that the saying, "Per aspera, ad astra"? I thought "Asperatus" had something to do with hopefulness or toil and trouble. It apparently means "waves"! Oh well!
The undulatus part means 'waves' . Asperatus means 'rough'.
Chris

*****************************************
Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
http://www.cloudbait.com

User avatar
Anthony Barreiro
Turtles all the way down
Posts: 793
Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 7:09 pm
Location: San Francisco, California, Turtle Island

Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by Anthony Barreiro » Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:17 pm

Does anyone know what time of day this picture was taken, and which compass direction we're looking? The only information available through the link to the original flickr upload is "This photo was taken on March 1, 2005 in Hanmer Springs, Canterbury, NZ, using an Olympus C750UZ." Are we looking north in the afternoon? Or what?
May all beings be happy, peaceful, and free.

User avatar
Anthony Barreiro
Turtles all the way down
Posts: 793
Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 7:09 pm
Location: San Francisco, California, Turtle Island

Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by Anthony Barreiro » Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:22 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
ta152h0 wrote:If you didn't have science to draw conclusions with and you wake up one morning to this, wouldn't there be some fear and imaginative creations bouncing around in your head ? Like the gods are mad ?
Which is no doubt why gods were so popular before science, and seem to be on the decline these days.
Starship Asterisk's double standard regarding the discussion of religion continues to bother me. Discussion of religion is discouraged, except for negative criticisms of religious belief. If we're going to refrain from discussing religion, I would ask that we all refrain. This is a request, not an invitation to argument. Thanks for your consideration.
May all beings be happy, peaceful, and free.

ta152h0
Schooled
Posts: 1372
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2005 12:46 am
Location: Auburn, Washington, USA

Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by ta152h0 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:33 pm

we are not discussing religion. Simply stating facts of human behaviour when confronted with unknowns.
Wolf Kotenberg

User avatar
Chris Peterson
Abominable Snowman
Posts: 15072
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:13 pm
Location: Guffey, Colorado, USA

Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:36 pm

Anthony Barreiro wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:
ta152h0 wrote:If you didn't have science to draw conclusions with and you wake up one morning to this, wouldn't there be some fear and imaginative creations bouncing around in your head ? Like the gods are mad ?
Which is no doubt why gods were so popular before science, and seem to be on the decline these days.
Starship Asterisk's double standard regarding the discussion of religion continues to bother me. Discussion of religion is discouraged, except for negative criticisms of religious belief. If we're going to refrain from discussing religion, I would ask that we all refrain. This is a request, not an invitation to argument. Thanks for your consideration.
This was not really a commentary on religion, simply an historical observation. It's a fact that in the past, people drew on their religious beliefs in order to explain nature. That is no longer the case among most educated people (that is, people who have been exposed to modern scientific ideas). Most people who remain religious look largely to their beliefs for moral guidance these days, not for explanations of what causes lightning, auroras, or strange cloud formations.

The original question was a good one- I remember when I first saw a bright red aurora in Colorado (where auroras are rare) thinking that the native Americans living here a few hundred years ago must have been quite astonished, if not frightened, and looked to supernatural beliefs for an explanation. My response simply recognized that the development of modern science means that supernatural explanations for natural observations are no longer required, or much relied upon- even by most of the major religions.
Chris

*****************************************
Chris L Peterson
Cloudbait Observatory
http://www.cloudbait.com

User avatar
MargaritaMc
Look to the Evenstar
Posts: 1836
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:14 pm
Location: 28°16'7"N 16°36'20"W

Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by MargaritaMc » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:44 pm

Ann wrote
To me, the picture looked like a huge somewhat brain-damaged brain, as if we were looking at the half-melted gray, now brown, convoluted matter!

Is today's APOD the picture of a brain sky? If so, whose brain is it, and what is the brain thinking?
I've been musing on this whilst doing some overdue sewing repairs, and my thoughts wandered all over the area of what 'consciousness' consists of, how we would recognise that thinking was occurring if the thinker was utterly different from us. Then, what do we mean by the term "Thinking"?

Then (there was a lot of sewing and it was uncomplicated) my thoughts trailed off to what forms life/consciousness/thinking might take on other planets in other solar systems, where evolution will have run through a different story to ours.

And on this one Earth we have SO MANY forms of life! Think of how impossible it would be to believe a fiction writer who invented the idea of caterpillar/butterfly metamorphasis? Or barnacles? Or - my favourite - SLIME MOULD?

So, maybe, somewhere or somewhen, there are clouds that are thinking.

Have you any thoughts, Ann?

M
"In those rare moments of total quiet with a dark sky, I again feel the awe that struck me as a child. The feeling is utterly overwhelming as my mind races out across the stars. I feel peaceful and serene."
&mdash; Dr Debra M. Elmegreen, Fellow of the AAAS

User avatar
Beyond
500 Gigaderps
Posts: 6889
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2009 11:09 am
Location: BEYONDER LAND

Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by Beyond » Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:03 pm

margaritaMc wrote:Or - my favourite - SLIME MOULD?
Slime mold :?: :?: Well... at least it's green, isn't it :?:
To find the Truth, you must go Beyond.

User avatar
MargaritaMc
Look to the Evenstar
Posts: 1836
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:14 pm
Location: 28°16'7"N 16°36'20"W

Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by MargaritaMc » Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:20 pm

Beyond wrote:
margaritaMc wrote:Or - my favourite - SLIME MOULD?
Slime mold :?: :?: Well... at least it's green, isn't it :?:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slime_mold
When food is abundant a slime mold exists as a single-celled organism, but when food is in short supply, slime molds congregate and start moving as a single body. In this state they are sensitive to airborne chemicals and can detect food sources. They can readily change the shape and function of parts and may form stalks that produce fruiting bodies, releasing countless spores, light enough to be carried on the wind or hitch a ride on passing animals.
How cool is that!

M
"In those rare moments of total quiet with a dark sky, I again feel the awe that struck me as a child. The feeling is utterly overwhelming as my mind races out across the stars. I feel peaceful and serene."
&mdash; Dr Debra M. Elmegreen, Fellow of the AAAS

User avatar
rstevenson
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Posts: 2605
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 1:24 pm
Location: Dartmouth, NS, Canada

Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by rstevenson » Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:27 pm

The oddest intelligence I've read about in 55 years of reading science fiction are the Bandersnatchi of Larry Niven's Known Space series of stories. From Wikipedia...
Niven's works describe Bandersnatchi as one giant cell with long chromosomes as thick as a human finger, rendering them impervious to the mutagenitive effects of radiation and therefore unable to mutate.[3] As single cells, they reproduce asexually by budding. Their nerves have no cell body and no nuclei; nothing to separate them from other specialized protoplasm. The Bandersnatchi also have 6 large hearts, each weighing about 11 pounds. The brain is large, shaped long and narrow, and is encased in a bony cage. The skull is one end of this jointless, flexible, very strong cage that keeps them from ever shifting position.

In the Known Space universe, the Bandersnatchi were created by the Tnuctipun during the Thrintun empire (~1.5 billion BCE) as a food source with a nearly irresistible taste to the predatory Thrintun. As such, the Thrintun had no objection to their large size. While the Thrintun believed that the Bandersnatchi possessed no intelligence, they were actually sentient beings resistant to their telepathic mind control abilities[4] and were used by the Tnuctipun to spy on the Thrintun until a slave rebellion. This immunity to the Thrintun psychic abilities also allowed them to survive the mass-suicide command used at the end of the Tnuctipun-Thrintun war.

Bandersnatchi are portrayed as surviving on the planet Jinx, with isolated populations also scattered throughout the galaxy, including the planet Beanstalk and the 'Maps of Jinx' in the Great Oceans of the Ringworld. On Jinx, Bandersnatchi allow themselves to be hunted in exchange for specialized tools and devices, such as mechanical 'arms' specifically designed for their massive bodies, along keeping the Bandersnatchi population in check and providing them with something to fight. The Hunter's equipment is restricted by agreement to make things more equal; about 40% of the hunters do not return.
So, a thinking single cell. Doesn't get much odder than that! But I have my doubts about a single cell that would think in a way so similar to us that they could negotiate a treaty. In fact I suspect that the way a species thinks depends as much on the way their bodies experience the world as on the number of neurons they might use. Hence the communication difficulties between Humans and Dolphins, for example.

Rob

User avatar
MargaritaMc
Look to the Evenstar
Posts: 1836
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:14 pm
Location: 28°16'7"N 16°36'20"W

Re: APOD: Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand (2013 Feb 27)

Post by MargaritaMc » Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:47 pm

Rob wrote.
In fact I suspect that the way a species thinks depends as much on the way their bodies experience the world as on the number of neurons they might use. Hence the communication difficulties between Humans and Dolphins, for example.
As you probably know, Wittgenstein would agree:

http://www.iep.utm.edu/wittgens/
This is why “forms of life” are so important to Wittgenstein. What matters to you depends on how you live (and vice versa), and this shapes your experience. So if a lion could speak, Wittgenstein says, we would not be able to understand it. We might realize that “roar” meant zebra, or that “roar, roar” meant lame zebra, but we would not understand lion ethics, politics, aesthetic taste, religion, humor and such like, if lions have these things. We could not honestly say “I know what you mean” to a lion. Understanding another involves empathy, which requires the kind of similarity that we just do not have with lions
Nor, one would add, with single celled Bandersnatchi.

Margarita
"In those rare moments of total quiet with a dark sky, I again feel the awe that struck me as a child. The feeling is utterly overwhelming as my mind races out across the stars. I feel peaceful and serene."
&mdash; Dr Debra M. Elmegreen, Fellow of the AAAS