A horizontal rainbow? (aka a fire rainbow)

Roy Travel Blog

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Plane landing at Hill AFB

I'm working out at the base testing soil for contamination and I couldn't help but notice my surroundings.  The first site was near the airstrip and I enjoyed watching the planes flying around and landing with the mountains in the background.   The next site was a little more secluded and while I was working I looked up and noticed a slight rainbow forming in the ice crystals of the clouds.  Cool!  It was pretty faint, but I took a photo hoping it would come out better and went back to work.  But I kept my eye on the rainbow and soon it formed into a fat, bright, horizontal rainbow.  Cool!  I've never seen one like that!  It was completely unrelated to any rain event.  It simply formed in either the water vapor or ice crystals that made up those wispy clouds.  I couldn't take my eyes off of it and my partner was getting a little annoyed that I wasn't working but I didn't care.

a fire rainbow
  It's not my fault he can't appreciate nature's beauty!

The day ended on a hill full of yellow flowers and a mosquito bite.  The cool spaceship cloud forming over the Wasatch Mountains actually occured the next morning.

I just found out this horizontal rainbow is also known as a fire rainbow and is actually quite rare!  (supposedly the rarest of all naturally occurring atmospheric phenomena - but I don't have a refence for that statement).  They only form in cirrus clouds (those wispy ones) where the ice crystals are alligned perfectly horizontal and the sun is at a high angle - of 58 degrees or more.  The higher the sun angle, the brighter the rainbow.  They also are not seen north of 55 degrees north (or south of 55 degrees south).  Cool!  I witnessed a pretty rare meterological event!   


 
rotorhead85 says:
Wow that is cool!
Posted on: Jul 05, 2008
alyssa_ob says:
The contamination isn't related to the airstrip - it just happens to be near it.
Posted on: Jun 29, 2008
fawkes66 says:
I´m really curious about the amount of contamination around airstrips..is it that bad?
Posted on: Jun 29, 2008
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Plane landing at Hill AFB
Plane landing at Hill AFB
a fire rainbow
a fire rainbow
my job site
my job site
testing the soil
testing the soil
slight rainbow in clouds
slight rainbow in clouds
rainbow in the clouds
rainbow in the clouds
Me working on a hill of flowers
Me working on a hill of flowers
spaceship cloud
spaceship cloud
a horizontal rainbow!
a horizontal rainbow!
Roy
photo by: alyssa_ob