(Photo: Phillip Clapper)
It's a rainbow-colored cloud! Or perhaps a fire rainbow. Or to put it more scientifically, it's a circumhorizontal arc. Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell of NASA describe the unusual conditions that are necessary for one of these natural wonders to appear in the sky:
For a circumhorizontal arc to be visible, the Sun must be at least 58 degrees high in a sky where cirrus clouds are present. Furthermore, the numerous, flat, hexagonal ice-crystals that compose the cirrus cloud must be aligned horizontally to properly refract sunlight in a collectively similar manner. Therefore, circumhorizontal arcs are quite unusual to see.
Continue reading to view more photos of fire rainbows.
(Photo: Atilla Magyar)
(Photo: Jeff Kubina)