Half Mile Visibility

In my previous post I showed you my “battle rattle” for fighting sandstorms. Well, here are some pictures from that two-day-long storm. The first shows how much the sand attenuates the sunlight. This image was taken at about 4:45 pm. The sky should be blue and the sun should be damn near impossible to look at. But not today! It’s a perfect circle… or at least appears so to our feeble eyes. (The sun isn’t perfectly round.) You can also see that the sun in this image is perfectly white.

This second image was taken while driving. Those towers just barely visible in the distance are part of a cement plant that does a lot of work locally. It would typically be visible at well over two miles, but, again, not today. The dust is interfering with the visible spectrum bouncing it off in all sorts of directions and away from the camera. This same phenomenon occurs to satellite communications during storms and severe weather. Those signals, though in a different part of the electromagnetic spectrum, are attenuated in exactly the same way you see here. Yeah, basic principle, but fun nevertheless. I like knowing how things work.

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