Full Moon Pacific Blanket - SF Bay from Gary Yost on Vimeo.

Today the Department of Awesome Natural Phenomena presents this stunning time-lapse video, created by photographer and volunteer fire lookout , of San Francisco Bay area’s famous fog rolling in to envelop the landscape, illuminated by the last August’s supermoon:

"The Bay Area is famous for its dense fog, and when you’re in it the fog is cold and grey. But there’s another side to the fog and the only way to see what happens when it fully comes in and blankets the SF Bay Area at night is to be above it. Because Mt. Tam is closed to everyone but rangers and fire lookout volunteers after sunset, very few people have ever seen the majestically mysterious vapors of the Pacific ocean as it flows in to completely cover the Bay. What starts as a partial blanket quickly rushes in to fill the gaps and by 1am, the lights of the cities below eventually become completely smothered."

Click here for an article about how Yost created this fantastic video.

[via io9 Space]

We see clouds so often that it’s easy to forget how amazing they are. Thankfully German astronaut and geophysicist Alexander Gerst is currently aboard the International Space Station where he often spends his free time taking countless extraordinary photos of the Earth as it’s whizzing by 205 miles below.

Gerst is particularly fond of photographing dramatic shadows cast by cloud formations - something that we cannot see down here on Earth. These stunning photos remind how awesome clouds are as they cast shadows that stretch for thousands of miles across the planet’s surface. Shadows so long that they eventually disappear into the black horizon.

Follow Alexander Gerst’s Twitter feed for new photos shared daily.

[via Colossal]

It’s late summer up here in the Northern Hemisphere and some folks have reached the point at which the novelty of hot weather has worn off and they’ve all but forgotten what it feels like to shiver. If that sounds like you, please allow the Department of Awesome Natural Phenomena to distract you for just a moment with this amazing photo taken by Redditor SearonTrejorek.
A couple winters ago in South Carolina, at the Hardin Gardens on the Winthrop University canvas, SearonTrejorek (after a few unsuccessful tries) managed to peel a perfect layer of ice off a leaf of a Magnolia tree. The flawless ice leaf was very fragile and quick to melt, but he was able to hold it in his hand long enough to capture its existence in this refreshingly chilly photo.
[via Twisted Sifter]

It’s late summer up here in the Northern Hemisphere and some folks have reached the point at which the novelty of hot weather has worn off and they’ve all but forgotten what it feels like to shiver. If that sounds like you, please allow the Department of Awesome Natural Phenomena to distract you for just a moment with this amazing photo taken by Redditor SearonTrejorek.

A couple winters ago in South Carolina, at the Hardin Gardens on the Winthrop University canvas, SearonTrejorek (after a few unsuccessful tries) managed to peel a perfect layer of ice off a leaf of a Magnolia tree. The flawless ice leaf was very fragile and quick to melt, but he was able to hold it in his hand long enough to capture its existence in this refreshingly chilly photo.

[via Twisted Sifter]

The Japanese city of Nara is renown for its deer. Thanks to their legendary history, they’re regarded as heavenly animals, messengers of the gods according to Shinto belief, and guardians of both the city and Japan itself. A population of over 1000 remarkably tame Sika Deer reside in Nara Park, where they roam freely and visitors may feed them special biscuits, and every summer they do something strange and awesome. They leave the park and swarm the streets, lounging together on the sidewalks and sometimes right in the road, looking like they haven’t got a care in the world and the middle of the road is the perfect place to be.

YouTube user Blue Bells 9999 shot video of this marvelous phenomenon in 2013 and describes it as a regular occurrence in late July:

"…with the deer strolling out of the park to “enjoy the coolness of the street.” Given that the concrete sidewalk and asphalt road surface would ordinarily retain heat during the summertime, we’re guessing that the surrounding cityscape and topography creates either a cooling wind tunnel or an inviting patch of shade.

Although it might seem like an alarming event, Nara residents seem very used to the presence of the deer. It’s been happening for so long now that the city posts warning signs to drivers about deer crossing the road. No one honks at them or suddenly swerves to avoid them. We’d be so amazed by the sight of them that people would be honking at us for blocking traffic ourselves.

[via RocketNews24]

Chicago Derecho Storm Video and Time-lapse Highlights - June 30, 2014 from Craig Shimala on Vimeo.

This just in at the Department of Awesome Natural Phenomena: Videographer Craig Shimala captured this stunning time-lapse footage of an intense thunderstor that took place over the Chicago skyline on June 30, 2014. It begins with the storm clouds rolling in over the city and peaks with a dramatic triple skyscraper lightning strike on the Willis Tower, Trump Tower and the John Hancock Center. A truly remarkable sight.

Even more remarkable still, Shimala filmed the exact same occurrence almost four years ago to the day, on June 23, 2010.

[via Colossal]

The Department of Awesome Natural Phenomena invites you to check out this breathtaking timelapse video of the formation of a colossal supercell thunderstorm between Wright and Newcastle, Wyoming on May 18, 2014. The video was shot by the Basehunters, a storm chasing team founded by Colt Forney, Kevin Rolfs, Scott Peake, and Isaac Pato.

"Supercells are severe thunderstorms, notable for both their rotating winds and for the long duration they can play out over. Though this particular one did not touch down to form a tornado, it’s easy, as you watch the clouds spin rapidly overhead, to see just why supercells often do end in tornadoes, or at the very least extremely damaging storms."

For more of their incredible storm chasing footage and photos, check out the Basehunter’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.

[via Twisted Sifter and io9]

Just because it’s almost June doesn’t mean that that Department of Awesome Natural Phenomena has stopped discovering amazing ice formations. Cathy Hartt, who lives in Montrose, CO, was out walking her dog early on the morning of May 12, 2014 when she encountered this beautiful sheet of snow at the bottom of a slide in Buckley Park that had folded and frozen like a giant piece of ribbon candy.
Photo by Cathy Hartt via 7NEWS, KGMH in Denver
[via Twisted Sifter]

Just because it’s almost June doesn’t mean that that Department of Awesome Natural Phenomena has stopped discovering amazing ice formations. Cathy Hartt, who lives in Montrose, CO, was out walking her dog early on the morning of May 12, 2014 when she encountered this beautiful sheet of snow at the bottom of a slide in Buckley Park that had folded and frozen like a giant piece of ribbon candy.

Photo by Cathy Hartt via 7NEWS, KGMH in Denver

[via Twisted Sifter]

Japanese Twitter user @KAGAYA_11949 captured these awesome images of a phenomenal bolt of lightning striking the Tokyo Skytree. With a height of 634 meters (2,080 ft), it’s Japan’s tallest structure and the tallest broadcasting tower in the world. The view from up there must be amazing, but we’d rather not be in there during a storm like this.

Photos via Nikken Sekkei and KAGAYA_11949

[via RocketNews24]

Today the Department of Awesome Natural Phenomena introduces us to an incredibly beautiful nighttime occurrence known as Light pillars. They’re one of nature’s rewards for enduring extremely cold weather.

Light pillars are created when ice crystals with roughly horizontal faces form in the atmosphere and reflect light from the sun, moon, or even man-made sources such as street lights.

"So, how does one explain all of the colors? As the Weather Doctor states, ‘Because the light rays forming pillars are reflected, they take on the color of the incident light. For example, when the sun is higher in the sky, pillars are white or bright yellow in color. But when it is near the horizon and its light color dominantly orange, gold or red, so is the resulting pillar.’”

Light pillars have been known to be the source of false UFO reports, which doesn’t seem at all surprising when you consider the Close Encounters-esque atmosphere in each of these wonderful photographs.

Photos by Jay Callaghan, Osato Naoya, Francis Anderson, Tristan Grezko, and Jason Ahms respectively.

Visit My Modern Metropolis to view a few more.

Thanks to the storm-chasing efforts of Phoenix, AZ-based photographer Mike Olbinski. it’s time to pay a visit Department of Awesome Natural Phenomena. Olbinski knew exactly what he was looking for, but it took him four years to find it: a monstrous rotating supercell thunderstorm.

"And not just a rotating supercell, but one with insane structure and amazing movement… Clouds that rotate and look like alien spacecraft hanging over the Earth."

This breathtaking storm was spotted near Booker, TX on June 3, 2013. Olbinski shot his mesmerizing 4-part time-lapse video using a Canon 5D Mark II camera with a Rokinon 14mm 2.8 lens. The first three parts were shot at 1-second intervals (~880 photos each) and the last was shot at 5-second intervals (90 photos).

Click here to learn more about the making of this awesome video.

The audio track is Impact Lento by Kevin MacLeod.

[via Twisted Sifter]