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Sarychev Peak 2009
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Summary: On June 12, 2009, Russia's Sarychev Peak volcano erupted, hurling an enormous plume of ash and sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere. This has produced some unusually beautiful sunrises and sunsets around the northern hemisphere. When the sun goes down, delicate ripples of white appear over the western horizon. Then, as twilight deepens, the sky turns a lovely shade of "volcanic lavender." Fine volcanic aerosols in the stratosphere scatter blue light which, when mixed with ordinary sunset red, produce the lavender hue. Other signs to look for include a bright yellow "twilight arch" and long crepuscular rays and shadows.

  Photographer, Location Images Comments

Marek Nikodem,
Szubin, Poland
Jul. 3, 2009
#1, #2, #3, more

The volcanic sky show continues over Poland. During the past several days, the sunsets and sunrises have become more dramatic. Today morning, about 30-40 minutes before sunrise this display of long crepuscular rays and shadows appeared in the east with great contrast and color. Thise images respresent my visual impression pretty good. It was wonderful and fantastic! Can make the same goose skin I had. Nikon D700/ lens 28-105 mm, tripod

Sam Sievers,
Vincennes Indiana
Jul. 2, 2009
#1, #2

Nikon coolpix asa 100 auto about only 1-2 min of the Lavenders well after sunset on 7/2/09 Vincennes, In.

Andrew J. Brown,
Chelmford, Essex, England, UK
Jul. 3, 2009

Having read about the Sarychev Peak volcanic sunsets on Spaceweather, we knew there was the chance of something being up. About two hours before sunset on Friday 3rd July 2009 at our location in Chelmsford UK, we noticed a layer of white 'stranded' or 'combed' cloud in the western sky. The strands were too linear to be cirrus and, were just like those shown in the Sarychev Peak gallery. So we kept on watching. Here is the result. It was not quite a liliac sky, but maybe tonight. Another observer some 200 miles to the west of our location in Lancashire also witnessed the same phenomina, so the cloud must have been well distributed across England. Happy sunset watching :-)

Winston Rockwell,
half a mile south of La Push, Washington, on the Olympic Peninsula.
Jun. 29, 2009
#1, #2, more

Amazing colors 30 minutes after sunset at Second Beach, near La Push on the Washington coast. Shot with Canon 5D and Tamron SP24-135 lens at 37mm, 1.3 sec @ f/13.

R J Cobain,
Ballyholme Bay, Bangor, Co. Down, N.Ireland.
Jul. 4, 2009

The volcanic clouds were reminiscient of NLCs except that you could see them well before sunset and only a short while after. I couldnt discern any movement as the contrast between the sky background and the clouds was rather low. Camera was Sigma Dp1 1/8s f11 ISO50

Pete Glastonbury,
Devizes, Wiltshire, UK
Jul. 4, 2009

An after before the sun set tonight clouds from the Sarychev Peak volcano began to appear in the west looking very much like Noctilucent clouds in recent weeks. They lasted until an hour after sunset. Camera, Pentax Ist Dl 18mm lens.

Rob Bullen,
Cinderford, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, UK
Jul. 3, 2009
#1, #2

Beautiful sunset, displaying some strange and wonderful structure. I have heard about these volcanic sunsets from around the world recently but had no idea what to expect. The streamers and waves stretching across the evening sky were quite stunning and lasted some time into the deep twilight. As the display was fading a small patch of NLC began to shine through in the north western portion of the sky which complemented the dimming sunset colours. I have stitched together two panoramic images of the early part of the display and toward the end as the sky turned toward a lovely purple hue. There is a portrait style image that I have stretched the contrast on slightly to reveal both the NLC and some broad but very subtle volcanic waves above the NLC display. Photo details - Canon EOS 40D, ISO 200 with a 17-44mm f4 lens set at f9 1/40 second for the sunset images and f7 15 seconds for the NLC/ volcanic waves images.

more images: from Jason Evans of Eastleigh Hampshire UK; from Alexandra Farkas of Mogyoród, Hungary; from R J Cobain of Bangor, Co. Down, Northern Ireland; from Radek Grochowski of Wroclaw, Poland; from Maurice Gavin of Worcester Park - SW London; from Paul Evans of Larne, Northern Ireland