Friday, January 8, 2010

Rainbow Cirrus a.k.a. Fire Rainbow



We spotted this amazing cloud, which I believe is called rainbow cirrus, also known as a fire rainbow, very late in the afternoon over the lower end of Weardale in County Durham. Apparently the rainbow is cause by refraction of sunlight by tiny ice crystals in very high altitude cirrus. I've only ever seen it once before, also during an extremely cold period of weather. Quite magical. It only lasted for a couple of minutes.


11 comments:

  1. A lovely shot of a very unusual weather phenomnon...well spotted.

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  2. A very interesting sighting. Well spotted.

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  3. Phil, not common, but watch for the same effect around the moon. As you say caused by ice crystals but all cloud at that altitude has to be ice. To we sailors it's a harbinger of ferocious weather, but not for two days, Mares Tails and it's a day away, a mackerel sky and you have half a day and the wind always comes from the confluence of the cloud. Cadets used to Poo! Poo! this. Never took photos then too busy battening down. Nice to have you record it.

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  4. Unusual sight Phil. Don't think I've ever seen that before.

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  5. I'm smiling at Adrian's comments. One of our neighbours (he's moved away now) was a fisherman off the Scottish coast many years ago and he instinctively knew all about the weather signs too.

    I've noticed the beautiful sunsets we're having of late.

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  6. Thanks David - it's a bit hazardous staring at the clouds at the moment, with so much ice underfoot!

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  7. Hi John, on the other occasion that I saw this phenomenon there were two lenticular clouds that looked like multicoloured space ships. As I recall, it was at around the same time in the afternoon - just after sunset.

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  8. Hi Adrian, the most amazing moon-effect I ever saw was a double moon-bow when I was travelling over the moors in Teesdale late at night .... wish I'd had the means to record it. probably could have done with one of the new ultra-sensitive digital SLRs.....

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  9. Hi Keith, there are some more spectacular examples at various web site but it certainly was memorable...

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  10. Hi Lesley, my father and grandfather were both in the Navy and they had a similar fund of weather-lore, which was usually right...

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  11. The cloaking device on the alien starship seems not to be working to well!

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