TV5 chief meteorologist explains 'rainbow' clouds - WNEM TV 5

TV5 chief meteorologist explains 'rainbow' clouds

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We've gotten a few reports this Wednesday afternoon of "rainbows in the sky" or clouds that are full of brilliant colors.

They're given the colloquial name of "fire rainbows" and they are high, wispy clouds that are made of tiny ice crystals, and if the cloud is at the right angle to the sun, the crystals will refract the sunlight (much like a prism) into the colors of the rainbow.

They are very similar to a regular rainbow-when-it's-raining, only they are a little more rare. 

These fire rainbows are rare sights in the mid-latitudes, because they can only occur when the sun is 58 degrees or higher above the horizon. For the United States in general that pretty much relegates any sightings to roughly around six weeks either side of the summer solstice.

The photos above to the right were taken Wednesday afternoon by Joe Bruessow.

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