Luminous Arcs: NASA Pic Post-Sandy – UPDATE EUCHARISTIC?

Credit: NASA/MSFC David Hathaway /

Says NASA:

Yesterday, sky watchers around the NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, witnessed something amazing: A complex network of luminous arcs and rings surrounded the afternoon sun. “I’ve never seen anything quite like it,” says eyewitness Bill Cooke, head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. Solar physicist David Hathaway snapped this picture of the display.

The apparition is almost certainly connected to hurricane Sandy. The core of the storm swept well north of Alabama, but Sandy’s outer bands did pass over the area, leaving behind a thin haze of ice crystals in cirrus clouds. Sunlight shining through the crystals produced an unusually rich variety of ice halos.

Click here to enlarge

I’m curious, what do you see? At first it looked like an eye — like a CBS eye, winking — then it looked like a face with tongue sticking out and my grandmother’s chin (which I share. All three of them).

What do you see?

Until someone said it in the comments section, I didn’t see it, but now I totally do — it looks like someone receiving communion!

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Nicholas

    As a weather geek AND a photographer, I’m floored by this picture because you have the following phenomena all in one shot:

    * Parhelia (sun dogs)
    * Parhelic circle
    * 22° halo
    * Upper tangent arc
    * Parry arc
    * Supralateral arc
    * Circumzenithal arc
    * Two additional arcs created by pyramidal ice crystals

    As for what I see beyond the literal…well, Hopkins springs to mind:

    “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil….”

  • Kristen inDallas

    The instant you said face…. I saw the nose at the top, the two lips in the middle, and not a tounge, but something more circular… communion wafer entering?

  • Kristen inDallas

    … with the sun and it’s rays forming the center of the wafer and a faint cross…

  • k

    I see the the incarnation: Blessed Mother with the child in her womb. The top arc pointed up is her head, second arc down are her shoulders. The circle is the womb, and the interesting shape above the “womb” is the dove of the Holy Spirit. Thank you Elizabeth for posting this picture.

  • annie

    Isn’t Huntsville, Alabama in the general vicinity of EWTN and their Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament?

    Hanceville -admin

  • Kirk

    I see the face of Jesus with His eyes peeking above the sun or is it the Fathers eyes peeking upon His Son.

  • Kirk

    Showed my 11 year old daughter and the first thing she said was mouth and then the Eucharist.

  • Michael

    I looked at it and saw cool reflections from ice crystals coming from light from the sun…. but yea sure if you see god in it thats your view. If I throw flour in the air sometimes if I do it enough times it forms a perfect Mario outline… just have to throw it enough times and “REALLY WANT TO SEE IT”. its a cool natural phenomena, everyone claiming to see god or a mouth or anything else is deluding themselves. Grow up.

  • Adam


    Huntsville is in Southern Alabama, along I-10 and near the coast. EWTN is in Birmingham, which is much further north–I’m guessing three hours by car without looking at a map.

    What’s funny is that I was just reading Sirach 34 for my Bible Studies course tonight, and I found this:
    “Divination, omens, and dreams are unreal;
    what you already expect, the mind fantasizes.
    Unless they are specially sent by the Most High,
    do not fix your heart on them.”
    This is pointed mostly at *me*–I’m the kind of person who looks for signs in everything. Having said that, I think God give us the ability to recognize his signature in his handiwork. In other words, I don’t think this is a divine apparition, but I do think God wired us to remember him in His works when we see stuff like this.

  • Adam

    Correction–I was thinking of the Stennis Space Center in Gulfport, MS, which isn’t far from the Alabama border. Huntsville is about 2 hours north of EWTN, so I had the wrong side of the state. I’m confusing my outer-space sites (the space shuttle was built in Huntsville, which is why I was mixing it up with Stennis).

  • Anonymous

    Ok, this is very weird. On Monday night around 2:00 am here in Chicago, my 86 year old mom woke up because the moon was so bright. And as she looked at it, she saw two moons in the sky. She got up and went up to the window to ensure it wasn’t a reflection in her window. She looked at it for quite a while but could not figure out what it was.

    We googled it and found a scientist’s page that talks about “moon dogs” with an explanation of how he thinks “moon dogs” are formed. He says they are connected to the same kind of halo and other light effects that you sometimes see around the sun or moon. Then we found this video on Youtube showing two moons – my mom says this is exactly what it looked like. There was one dim moon and one really really bright full moon.

    Here are the links – the scientist’s page:
    And the youtube video:

    I have never even heard of this happening before – there must have been something connected with the atmosphere and it’s interesting that people down South saw something connected with it. We had very high winds from Sandy here in Chicago but there weren’t many clouds visible.

    While there is a scientific explanation, that doesn’t mean there isn’t also a spiritual significance. It certainly gives me goosebumps, and even the scientist’s explanation linked to above admits to being awed by such sights. God uses all things for good.

  • Elizabeth

    I see a nose at the top then lips slightly open taking the shinning disk of the Eucharist! Isn’t Huntsville near Mother Angelica’s Shrine?

  • Elizabeth Scalia

    That’s Hanceville

  • Patricia

    I don’t know if it’s “Eucharistic” or just a cool sky and lights.

    What matters is how all of us see the world through God’s eyes. If He and the Holy Sprit choose to create “lights and signs in the sky”, so be it for all with “eye’s to see.”

    Do have say though, it has an eerie resemblance to Fatima, especially this part:

    (When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father)

    As we get closer to a potential WWIII, which like WWII, could be/have been avoided. Here’s a reminder of the “message of Fatima”, chruch approved of course, but still no Catholic under the obligation to believe it.

    Regardless, never to late to start the “Five First Saturdays”, like maybe tomorrow! That I can say with certitude!

  • suburbanbanshee

    People who live in the far north see freaky ice halo stuff fairly commonly, just like they tend to see the Northern Lights fairly commonly. For us who live further south, sun dogs and moon dogs and ice halos and sky reflections are special, once in a lifetime events.

    Of course, it helps if you’re outside and looking. The only time I’ve seen a sun dog, I was a captive audience out on the freeway with my family.

  • Anonymous

    When I look at the NASA picture, the first thing I saw was a woman holding a globe. What you see as lips look more like arms and a shoulders holding the round disk with a bright light at its center. What you see as a nose looks like her head.

  • Recusant

    Looking at it, I get why some people see pictures and others don’t, but it just made me think of Psalm 19 (RSV):

    The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
    Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.
    There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.
    In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes forth like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
    Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them; and there is nothing hid from its heat.

  • terry nelson

    I see Kat.