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Posts Tagged ‘colorful clouds’

The skies over Huntley Meadows Park were amazing around 3:00 (15:00 hrs) yesterday afternoon when a cold front was blowing in. When certain clouds were illuminated by the sun they were transformed into pastel shades of the rainbow. At times there were varying shades of orange, green, aqua, and purple.

I suspected that moisture in the clouds was responsible for the colors, but I had never seen anything like it and did not know what it was called. After searching about on the internet, I learned that this diffraction phenomenon, known as cloud iridescence, is caused by small water droplets or ice crystals individually scattering light. According to Wikipedia, ” If parts of clouds have small droplets or crystals of similar size, their cumulative effect is seen as colors. The cloud must be optically thin, so that most rays encounter only a single droplet. Iridescence is therefore mostly seen at cloud edges or in semi-transparent clouds, and newly forming clouds produce the brightest and most colorful iridescence.”

cloud iridescence

cloud iridescence

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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