SFM #158. Nature. Open Sky

Star Ferry Musing #158. Nature. Open Sky

Written by Robert Wu for his family and friends
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I moved into my new home on the 33rd floor of a building in Forest Hills, Queens, NYC.  I enjoy an unobstructed view of Queens and Brooklyn to the Atlantic Ocean on the horizon.  Above the horizon, I have a clear expansive view of the sky.

White snow blankets the land but the blue sky is opening up above the clouds.


Low cloud cover obscures my view while the street below is relatively clear.  This precludes fog which would obscure everything high and low.

A sudden squall drenches the city and obscures visibility.  Nature shows its temperamental fury.

Big flowers of snow fall from the sky.

The sky is clearing after a big snowfall.

Animals in the Sky

A rat dives from the sky.

A white shaggy dog dashes after a thrown bone.


As I look at the sky, I see all kinds of clouds.  They appear in different forms, shapes, intensity, thickness.  I found a handy guide to identifying clouds and I try to identify the types of clouds.  I am a novice and may make mistakes.

Cirrus clouds.  Hooks, feathers, bands or patches with silky shimmer.

Cumulus clouds.  Isolated, puffy cloud with sharp outlines.

Stratocumulus clouds.  Grey or whitish fields, rolls or bundle, with rounded edges, at low level; regularly arranged elements. 

Nimbostratus clouds.  Dark rain cloud or bright snow cloud.  Usually continuous rain, snow or ice pellets. 

Cumulonimbus clouds.  Huge cloud tower, sometimes with anvil. Thunderstorm possible.

Colorful Clouds

ABC Weather: Kate Doyle

At sunset, sunlight has to travel longer through our atmosphere.  As the light passes through air molecules and pollutants such as sulfur particles, the green-blue-indigo-violet color lights are easily scattered.  What is left are the red-orange-yellow color lights that reach our eyes.  Thus the sunset sky and clouds are brilliant red and orange.

A cloudless sunset sky.

Orange cirrus clouds dance in the sky.

Cirrus clouds high in the sky are still bright orange while it is getting dark near the ground.

Pastel colors are soft and soothing.

This angry yellow sky and clouds are very rare.  I only saw it once.

Fiery deep red and orange clouds near the horizon over Verrazzano Bridge.

Stratified layers of colorful clouds.

A blanket of altocumulus clouds are dyed deep red and orange by the yellow setting sun.

A thick dense blanket of stratocumulus clouds is accentuated by the orange light of the setting sun.

This dynamic, dramatic scene has dancing cirrus clouds and thin streaks of jet plane contrails.  Two streaks are lit up bright yellow by the sun and they seem to be striking the pillars of the Verrazzano Bridge.


After all the excitement of colorful and dramatic clouds, the sky clears and a serene, beautiful rainbow falls on some houses in Queens, NYC.  According to legend, there is a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.  Maybe the real estate prices of those houses would shoot up?


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Author: Robert Wu

Two engineering and one business degrees, all from NYU. National president of Organization of Chinese Americans, two terms. General manager of a multinational corporation in China. Retired but still active. Married to a wonderful wife, one son & one daughter.

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