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The cloths of heaven

by Prof Paul Hardaker
Chief Executive of The Institute of Physics

The Institute of Physics (IoP) is the national physical society for both Ireland and the UK, so I often find myself travelling through Dublin airport.  Where I board the plane there are tributes to the famous Irish poets, including a personal favorite, William Butler Yeats.  He wrote a beautiful poem called cloths of heaven, which I have to share with you here:

Snow!

Swathes of the country were blanketed in snow on 10th and 11th December 2017, particularly Wales and large parts of England, as the Met Office issued yellow and amber warnings to many parts. The heavy snow led to power cuts, disrupted air, rail and road travel and resulted in hundreds of schools in England and Wales staying closed on the 11th.

Record-breaking rainbow in Taiwan

A rainbow, reportedly lasting nearly 9 hours, has been witnessed over the Chinese Culture University in the mountains of Taipei.

Prof Chou, Prof Liu Ching-huang and students documented the rainbow. Their observations, pictures and video recordings showed the rainbow lasted from 06:57 until 15:55 – totalling eight hours and 58 minutes.

If confirmed by Guinness World Records, it would obliterate the previous record for the longest-lasting rainbow, set in Yorkshire, England, on 14 March 1994, which lasted from 09:00 to 15:00. Rainbows typically last much less than an hour.