I took a short cloudspotting walk during a brief sunbreak at dawn today. After taking a few photographs (above), I turned around and was treated to a full rainbow over the Black Hills..and then everything went gray and wet. When I returned home, I made that ever-so-inspiring second cup of coffee and discovered a cumulus cloud on the rim of my favorite coffee cup (below)! I swear I did not paint this on the cup.
I must have been drooling or slurping or thinking about the clouds I saw yesterday (right): possibly my first jet-stream cirrus. These are long wispy streaks of cloud--high-altitude ice crystals swept along the jet-stream winds. The photo shows about half the length of what I saw behind/above the cumulus fractus and stratocumulus. Typically, a jet stream (there are several) is thousands of miles long, hundreds of miles wide, and several miles deep. Amazing to think that something that large (though cryptic unless revealed by ice crystals) could have escaped my notice until now. It makes me wonder how many times I have seen jet-stream cirrus without knowing it. I wonder what else I've seen!