Astrophotography – Clouds Type


Clouds Type
Below information /details according to
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High Level Clouds
Cirrus (Ci) / Cirrocumulus (Cc) / Cirrostratus (Cs)

High Level Clouds Type:  Cirrus (Ci) – High, Wispy Streaks
Definition:  High-altitude, thin, and wispy cloud streaks composed of ice crystals.
Characteristics: Cirrus clouds have a distinct look relative to the other thirteen cloud types. Because cirrus clouds are made of ice crystals, they look different than your typical puffy cloud shape, and can take on a number of different forms that resemble spider webs, fish skeletons, mares’ tail, or hair-like commas. If you’re observing a cloud that’s fibrous in nature, there’s a strong chance you’re looking at a cirrus cloud.
Altitude/height:  16,000 – 49,000 feet / 3 to 9 miles.
Cloud Species:

High Level Clouds Type: 
Cirrocumulus (Cc) – High-altitude cloudlets
Definition:  Small, flakey, and white high-altitude cumulus heaps and patches.
Characteristics:  Cirrocumulus clouds are thin cloud patches found high in the troposphere and are the only cloud found here that has cloud heap characteristics. Because cirrocumulus clouds are so high in altitude, the cloud heaps take on what can be described as a ‘grain of rice’ appearance. Take note when you see them because along with cumulonimbus, cirrocumulus clouds are the least seen among the ten main cloud types.
Altitude/height:  16,000 – 49,000 feet / 3 to 9 miles.

High Level Clouds Type:  Cirrostratus (Cs) – Pale, veil-like layer
Definition:  Thin, transparent, high-altitude cloud layer capable of producing a 22° halo.
Characteristics:  Cirrostratus clouds can best be described as a cloud blanket high up in the troposphere, spread out across the sky. Found at the same altitude as their cirrus and cirrocumulus counterparts, these clouds are more widely known for being the culprit of sun and moon halos, as they’re composed of ice crystals.
Altitude/height:  20,000 – 43,000 feet / 3½ to 8 miles.

Middle Level Clouds
Altocumulus (Ac) / Altostratus (As) / Nimbostratus (Ns)

Middle Level Clouds Type:  Altocumulus (Ac) – Middle-altitude Gray Layer
Definition:  Sheet of featureless, gray clouds in the middle cloud level capable of masking the sun.
Characteristics:  Altocumulus clouds are typically found in groups or heaps clumped together. They’re found in the middle layer of the troposphere, lower than cirrocumulus and higher than their cumulus and stratocumulus counterparts. The term mackerel sky is also common to altocumulus (and cirrocumulus) clouds that display a pattern resembling fish scales. Of all the ten different cloud types, you’ll probably find that altocumulus clouds are the one of the most diverse and dynamic in terms of appearance.
Altitude/height:  2,000 metres  to 7,000 metres / 1 to 4½ miles.

Middle Level Clouds Type:  Altostratus (As) – Gray Layer
Definition:  Sheet of featureless, gray clouds in the middle cloud level capable of masking the sun.
Characteristics:  Altostratus clouds are found in the middle cloud level. And unlike their altocumulus counterpart, they’re often boring to look at. Along with nimbostratus clouds, these clouds don’t have any species associated with them.
Altitude/height: 2,000 metres  to 7,000 metres / 1 to 4½ miles.

Middle Level Clouds Type:  Nimbostratus Clouds (Ns) – Precipitation Layer
Definition:  Dark and featureless layer cloud responsible for rainy and snowy weather.
Characteristics.  Nimbostratus clouds are associated with rainy, dreary days. They’re also responsible for snowy weather. Either way, these clouds are best known precipitation (and might be the cause for your outdoor activities to be postponed).
Altitude/height: 2,000 feet  to 18,000 metres / 1 to 4½ miles.

Low Level Clouds
Cumulonimbus (Cb) / Cumulus (Cu) / Stratus (St) / Stratocumulus (Sc)

Low Level Clouds Type:  Cumulonimbus Clouds (Cb) – Thunderstorms
Definition:  Dark-based storm cloud capable of impressive vertical growth and heavy precipitation.
Characteristics. Cumulonimbus clouds are responsible for stormy weather. If you’re looking up at a cloud that’s causing rainy and windy conditions, creating hail, thunder, and lightning, you’re in close proximation of a cumulonimbus cloud.
Altitude/height:  2,000 feet to 52,000 feet / 550 metres to 16,000 metres / 1 to 4½ miles.)

Low Level Clouds Type: 
Cumulus Clouds (Cu) – Low, Puffy, Fair-weather
Definition:  Low-altitude, fluffy heaps of clouds with cotton-like appearance.
Characteristics.Cumulus clouds are the clouds that we all drew as kids. They’re cotton ball clouds, popcorn clouds, and the clouds in the opening scene of The Simpsons. Though they come in different shapes and sizes, they’re generally the easiest type of cloud to pick out of the ten different cloud types. When the average person is asked to visualize a cloud, cumulus clouds are generally the first to come to mind.
Altitude/height:  2,000 feet to 7,000 feet / 550 metres to 2,000 metres / ¼ miles to  1¼ miles.)

Low Level Clouds Type:  Stratus Clouds (St) – Low, Featureless Layer
Definition:  Gray, featureless low-altitude layer cloud capable of ground contact.
Characteristics.  When you think of a cloudy, dreary day, you might have stratus clouds on your mind. Stratus clouds are blanket clouds that sit low to the ground, and on occasion, come in contact with the ground, better known as fog. If you live in a city with tall buildings, you might know stratus clouds by their ability to obscure the tops of buildings.
Altitude/height:  0 feet to 7,000 feet / 0 metres to 2,000 metres / 0 miles to  1¼ miles.)

Low Level Clouds Type:  Stratocumulus Clouds (Sc) – Low, Puffy Layer
Definition:  Thicker, low-altitude, and somewhat conjoined heaps of clouds.
Characteristics.  You might consider stratocumulus clouds a mix of stratus clouds and cumulus clouds. Hence the name (strato- and cumulo- are latin for layer and heap, respectively). They’re a layer of puffy clouds, and can usually be found joined together, similar to altocumulus clouds. In a lot of ways, these clouds are like altocumulus clouds, but much closer to the ground.
Altitude/height:  2,000 feet to 7,000 feet / 500 metres to 2,000 metres / ¼ miles to  1¼ miles.)


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