Three (Nearly) Solved Mysteries for a Saturday Evening: Elliptical Halos, Pyramidal Light Pillars and... SIBLING RIVALRY?

As recently reported at SpaceWeather, scientists are puzzled as to how elliptical ice halos like the one above form in the atmosphere. Physicists were looking at specific shapes of ice crystals for the cause, but Da-da thinks it might be simpler than that. All you need to recreate this is a flashlight and a small sheet of glass.

Hold the flashlight away from you, with the piece of glass (representing the ice crystals) between you and the light beam. Hold the glass normal/perpendicular to the beam. Now change the aspect ratio of the glass, so that it tilts side to side, up or down. Notice how the light circle the beam makes on the glass changes to that of an oval. Ice crystals in the air mimic this with changes in wind direction/aspect normal to the light source, creating the elliptical halo we see above.

That could also be contributing to light pillar phenomema in cold climates, but Da-da's not convinced about that one. Speaking of light pillars...

...these kind are bizarre. Da-da has no explanation, save for unicorns. It's ALWAYS unicorns these days. (Jeez, when was it NOT?) It's interesting to note that Central American pyramids were constructed with huge sheets of Brazilian mica at specific levels. Why? Perhaps to make great light pillars. Or perhaps they left an inner mica-free channel in the inner part of the pyramid to... channel energy? Create a beacon to come see the Mayan Unicorn Show? Da-da has no idea, and he doubts anyone's going to let him dissect a Central American pyramid anytime soon. (Da-da will do it cheap, btw.)

As for sibling rivalry...

Looks like it's working!
Da-da's latest sibling rivalry experiment involves quilted vests, duct tape collars, foil-lined helmets and silver body paint. Stay tuned.

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