Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sunlight under crystals


Came across an absolutely stunning photograph.

I'm not going to post it because it's obviously the property of the photographer, Chad Carpenter.  You can, however, view it here at More Intelligent Life by The Economist.

Quick blurb about the photo.  It is of nacreous clouds over Antarctica.  These clouds are found often in polar regions as they form in the extremely low temperatures of the high stratosphere.  In the photo, sunlight is diffracted through ice crystals in the clouds, causing undulating and prismatic lines.   Yet while admiring the beauty of the tableau, there is something else to consider.  The iridescent palette of colors that the clouds show is indicative of the widening hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica.

How symbolic, really.  Something pretty and shiny to entertain and distract us as we march ourselves towards our own unpleasant end.  As if to underscore the hidden gloom, there is the silhouette of a shrine towards the bottom of the photo.  The monument is for a construction worker who fell through the ice on his tractor in 1956. 

That's right.  Even in the admiration and appreciation of a photograph, I can still harp about environmentalism.  Oh well, if "they" are right and there really is nothing we can do about Global Warming and the like, at least we'll have pretty lights in the sky to gaze upon as we tear our own home apart.


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