Rays & Waves

Shawn Cook captured this medley of contrail shadows and cloud droplet iridescence at Indian Wells, California.  ©Shawn Cook, shown with permission.

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The aircraft and its contrail soar above all the clouds visible here. The opaque trail of water droplets generated from the fuel combustion, and possibly also condensed from air passage over the wings and fuselage, cast a shadow downwards onto at least three cloud layers. Light acting as rays.

Meanwhile, water droplets in lower clouds diffract sunlight to form the iridescent colours. Light as waves.