Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fire Rainbow

This is a fire rainbow, the rarest of all naturally occurring atmospheric phenomena.

The picture was captured on the Idaho/Washington border. The event lasted about one hour.

Clouds have to be cirrus, at least 20,000 feet in the air, with just the right amount of ice crystals and the sun has to hit the clouds at precisely 58 degrees.
God's handiwork. Beautiful sight! Pass along for others to see!!

See Snopes for more.


kc said...

I've seen this once! LONG time ago, I think in Alberta. The other rainbow that's a lot more common but still seldom seen is called a glory. It's circular. I saw one from an airliner once & exclaimed to Duffy about it. The shadow of the airplane was in the center of a circle of rainbow on the cloud beneath us. Gorgeous! He was quite blah about it - cuz he saw them OFTEN from the observer's window in the P-3's he was on. Well, I've only seen one & I was impressed.

Thanks for the memory!

TW: jetbgvz - duh!

Skeeter said...

KC, The circular rainbows observed from aircraft are indeed quite common.
Another common phenomenon observed from high altitude aircraft is a circular patch (like a halo) of brighter sunlight travelling across the sunlit surface of the ground. The aircraft's shadow is in the centre of the halo.
From an observer at 35,000 feet, the shadow is about 7 miles away, and so it is very small, but the much bigger halo can lead your eyes to the tiny shadow in its centre.
To see this phenomenon, the sun must be behind and above you as you look out the window. Try and imagine where a line from the sun passing through your head would hit the ground. Look for the halo in that area.

kc said...

Skeeter, if you come back here, I've seen horizontal rainbows, too. Driving H-3 from Aiea to Kaneohe on Oahu, the rainbow actually stretched ACROSS the highway. Lovely.