Syfy Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View
SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy


By Phil Plait

Nicolaus Wegner is a photographer and a storm chaser, and he’s well accomplished at both. His time-lapse video Stormscapes is wonderful, as is Stormscapes2.

He’s just released Stormscapes3, and wow. I mean seriously, WOW. Make this full screen, turn up the volume, and watch the whole thing, because at four minutes in it gets pretty jaw-dropping. A note: If bright strobe-like flashes bug you, then have a care because there’s a lot of that in the latter part of the video.

I love how the serene music at the beginning contrasts with the nuclear-bomb amounts of energy being casually tossed around by convection in those storms. And the colors! As I mentioned in Monsoon II (and the other Stormscape video posts linked above), the cause of the deep blues and greens you see in some of those storm clouds isn’t terribly well understood; they may be from light passing through icy hailstones.

Wegner told me that he shot a lot of this near Limon, Colorado, 150 or so km southeast of where I live. He’s tried to convince me to head out that way in the spring to catch some of these wild storms. I prefer to stay away from violent weather if I can (unless it comes to me), but watching his videos makes it very, very tempting.

Earlier this summer my wife and I saw a deep green cloud north of us, and it dumped a lot of rain in a short time. I wasn’t able to get pictures (we were driving), but it was still amazing. But oh, I’d so love to see a majestically spinning mesocyclone for myself, maybe from 50 km away so the whole thing could be taken in at once.

With the El Niño we have brewing in the Pacific, maybe this coming year I’ll get my chance. 

Read more about: