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A cloud dragon head

South of the equator and west of the prime meridian  | Atlantic Ocean

Date of acquisition:    December 26th, 2023  |  10:01:57 UTC

Sensor: Sentinel-3A OLCI

Coordinates:     ca. 7.4°S, 6.4°W

According to Chinese astrology, each year is said to follow the sign of one of 12 animals, which are endowed with certain qualities and characteristics. They all follow each other in the same order, and each year the animal sign is assigned a certain color and element. The only mythical creature in the Chinese horoscope is the Dragon, a wise, authoritative creature. In the 12-year cycle, the year under his auspices is considered the most successful.
The year 2024 is under the banner of the Dragon, the Wooden Green Dragon. The Year of the Dragon will officially begin on 10 February 2024.
However, already at the end of 2023, over the Atlantic Ocean, a little south of the equator, the head and one paw of a certain mythical creature were seen from Sentinel-3. Although the head is not very impressive in size (only about 500 x 250 kilometres), the eyes, nose and jaws of a dragon can be recognised (Figure 1)…
Or is it just a thin cloud structure of stratus clouds, at an altitude of 2-3 kilometres, skilfully sculpted by air currents and “cut off” from the north by an inversion layer? And were the “eyes” created by the penetration of cold air through a layer of warm clouds with the formation of ice crystals that reflect light well (Figure 2)?
These questions cannot be answered because the next day there was no trace of this appearance.

Happy New Year!

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Images contain modified Copernicus Sentinel Data [2023].