Cloud Iridescence

Just the other day, I was outside trying to find some more interesting pictures for the blog when I happened to look up… That is what I saw! This is a fairly common phenomenon, I see it all the time, if you check out this image we took of a sunset not so long ago, if you look carefully, you can see the colors around the outside of some of the clouds.

Cloud iridescence is the occurrence of colors in a cloud similar to those seen in oil films on puddles. It is a fairly uncommon phenomenon, most often observed in altocumulus, cirrocumulus and lenticular clouds, and very rarely in cirrus clouds. The colors are usually pastel, but can be very vivid. Iridescence is generally produced near the sun, with the sun’s glare masking it, so it is more easily seen by hiding the sun behind a tree or building.

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. When a thin cloud has droplets of similar size over a large extent, the iridescence takes on the structured form of a corona, a central bright disk around the sun or moon surrounded by one or more colored rings.

Thought I might make a post as this might have been in some interest of you if your a cloud or weather person. Hehe 🙂

Neigh – Renee.

4 thoughts on “Cloud Iridescence

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