Put a weather enthusiast on an airplane and I bet they head right for a window seat. It’s a perfect front row seat to witness the atmosphere in action no matter what state it is in. Towering cumulus clouds seen from above, some valley fog, or even a solid stratus deck. Nothing beats the view from a plane as it flies above, around, and through all types of weather. There is more to the view than just clouds and sunshine however, take a closer look and you can see Meteorology in action. From simple thermodynamics to optical phenomenon we have yet to fully understand, make sure you grab that window seat the next time your heading up in the air to catch it all.
In order for a plane to get airborne you need some type of lift. Airplanes generate this lift from the wings and the drop in pressure that is created as air flows over the wing, lower pressure above and high pressure below. When the conditions are right you can actually witness this process particularly during takeoff, landing, and the occasional slow turn. When there air pressure drops then the amount of moisture that air can hold decreases. If the relative humidity is high then the lower pressure generated over a wing will also cause a cloud to form. If your seated near a wing then look for this next time right before the plane takes off. If there is enough moisture in the air a nice cloud will form over the wings. The pressure drop creates the cloud and generates lift. That lift gets (and keeps) that plane off the ground while you can observe the thermodynamics first hand.
Get above the clouds and look away from the sun and you might see a glorious sight. A right, or series of rings, surrounding the shadow of the plane cast onto the clouds is actually called a glory. This is not a rainbow despite some colors seen in the ring(s) and the process that creates it is completely different from the one that causes a rainbow. There have been a number of theories as to why and how these glories are visible. A common thought is that some of the lights energy is emitted back to you the observer which is why this phenomenon appears directly around your shadow.
Take advantage of that window seat next time for you can witness all types of meteorology in action just outside that tiny window.