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Thread: Does anyone know the name of this phenomenon happening?

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    Junior Member ThatOneFish's Avatar
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    Default Does anyone know the name of this phenomenon happening?

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    Happened on my flight from TPE-LAX

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    The cloud over the wing is common when flying through a cloud or fog, but I have no idea what the thing in the top right hand corner is.

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    Junior Member ThatOneFish's Avatar
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    Yes that’s what I was wondering, it was flickering (almost like lightning) for a good 5 mins or so

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    Senior Member Gabriel's Avatar
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    Where was that thing located in space relative to the plane?

    When air temperature and humidity content puts it barely above the due point very small reductions in pressure can cause local temperatures that go below the due point.
    That is exactly what seems to be happening with the air flowing over the top of the wing.
    Again, I can't figure out where is that streak, far or close from the fuselage, but perhaps there was a small separation of airflow caused by an antenna or the fence over the doors to deflect rain water. Airflow separation tends to happen in low pressure zones and the separated flow tends to have lower pressure than the surroundings, and it typically behaves in a sort of oscillatory or alternative motion.

    Oh, and for the name of the phenomenon, it is called condensation

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    Junior Member ThatOneFish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
    Where was that thing located in space relative to the plane?
    It seemed to be catching on to the wingtip, so pretty close.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
    Oh, and for the name of the phenomenon, it is called condensation
    Ah thank you.

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    Member ATLcrew's Avatar
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    Paging chartvark567zjj to the forum!

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    Senior Member Gabriel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatOneFish View Post
    Ah thank you.
    Hey, the "condensation" part was just an accurate joke. It just means that a gas (in this case the gaseous water dissolved in the air) turns liquid (or vapor in the form of tiny droplets).
    It applies for clouds formation, the steam coming out the exhausts or mouths in winter, the vapor that can bee seen when you biol water (that's gaseous water coming out of the pan and turning back to water droplets as it meets the colder or less hot air above the pan) or when you open the freezer (that's moist air outside of the fridge getting colder when you open the door and it's dissolved water content turning into steam droplets).

    On a second thought, forget the accurate part too. At cruise altitude the air temperature is too cold for liquid water to exist (except perhaps supercooled water which almost sure was not this).
    So the white thing you see was more likely little ice crystals rather than little droplets.

    The state change from gas to solid is called sublimation. So that would be a better generic label for this phenomenon.

    --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
    --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

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