John's Nature Pictures

Mt Shasta

Lots of interesting stuff happening here. That is an orographic lenticular cloud. Do you know what that is? When the warm and moist prevailing westerly wind moves across the land the mountain pushes part of it way up into the atmosphere. It cools rapidly and can no longer contain the moisture, which condenses as a cloud. That is orographic. That cloud will sit in that one spot over the mountain all day long. See how it forms a 'bow shock' shape? Like a stack of lenses? That is lenticular. It is caused by high winds.

See the double star directly above the mountain? They are Mizar and Alcor (the fainter one on the left), known to the ancient Arabians as The Horse and The Rider. People with good vision can see The Rider. They and the third star visible in the late dusk are part of the handle of the Big Dipper. Oh, and the mountain, Mt Shasta, is an enormous volcano. It is California's northernmost fourteener.

Picture #117 -  copyright © 1997 by John Sherman


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