Edvard Munch and Nacreous Clouds

Painting by Edvard Munch – Public Domain

Did Edvard Munch paint nacreous clouds? The hypothesis was put forward by Norwegian scientists at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly in Vienna this spring (2017.) The long-held assumption is that the vividly colored sky in The Scream (1893) is a reflection of the artist’s troubled mind. A facile analysis and attractive mostly for the reason that we like to attribute romantic madness to our artists. More careful research is showing that some paintings that have been thought to contain fanciful imagery are really representing unusual meteorological phenomena, such as the lurid sunsets that happened after the volcano Krakatoa (1883) put huge quantities of aerosols into the atmosphere.

Munch himself said in his diary about the incident that inspired The Scream:

I went along the road with two friends – the sun set

I felt like a breath of sadness –

– The sky suddenly became bloodish red

I stopped, leant against the fence, tired to death – watched over the

Flaming clouds as blood and sword

The city – the blue-black fjord and the city

– My friends went away – I stood there shivering from dread – and

I felt this big, infinite scream through nature

Photo credit – Deven Stross

Check out the links and get the rest of the story. Go have a look at the Green Comet Cloud of the Day post on nacreous clouds and see if they look anything like the sky in Munch’s The Scream. This could be speculation, somewhat like my suggestion that Vincent van Gogh might have been inspired by asperatus clouds to paint some of his skies. It is also quite possible that this hypothesis is accurate and that Edvard Munch really did see nacreaous clouds. Personally, I prefer it to the analyses of pop pshycologists.

Photo credit – NASA – PD


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Green Comet Has Gone SSL

credit Alvesgaspar – CC-BY-SA

We’re joining the big leagues. No longer will the big guys look down their noses at our unsecured website. Now you’ll see that reassuring lock up there by the location bar along with that fully modern “https.” Don’t you feel safe now?

I was just waiting until it was free and easy to do. Let’s Encrypt went a long way toward that by creating a “free, automated, and open certificate authority.” Now you can get a certificate for your website without paying a for-profit certificate authority. That makes it easy for your web host to provide encryption for your site without having to charge you for it. Then it was a simple matter of calling up my host and asking them to install Let’s Encrypt on my site.

Well, not quite. The server I was on wouldn’t support it so they had to move Green Comet to another server. That meant it had a new address and the internet name servers had to propagate it, so we were in limbo for a while. You might have noticed we were hard to reach, but now we’re in business.

Almost. Now all the calls for http://greencomet.org have to be changed to https://greencomet.org. My head reeled! But this is computers and what are computers for if not to automate things? I found out I could edit a file on the site called htaccess that gives visiting computers special instructions when they arrive. Now if someone comes in looking for the old URL, it’s automatically changed to the new one. So now we’re good. I think.

Free but not so easy.


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