Residents in South Carolina have recently been uploading images to social media of some strange-looking clouds.
Instead of being, you know, white, they’re colourful and appear to have somehow combined with a rainbow. After doing a little research, we learned the phenomenon is colloquially referred to as a “fire rainbow,” although it has nothing to do with fire and isn’t actually a rainbow.
Go figure, right? Still, they look amazing.
Fire rainbows, or Circumhorizontal arcs (technical name), form when tiny ice crystals within the water vapour of clouds reflects incoming sunlight at just the right angle. For the record, this is a rare sight that has only been photographed a few times.
A photo posted by Roger Jennings (@3rdnlong) on
Because such a specific angle is required to make a fire rainbow visible, they’re most common at middle latitudes, away from Canada.
But that’s OK, we like our Northern Lights better anyway.