Have you ever looked up at the sky and noticed rainbow-like colors in the clouds?
If you have no idea what we’re talking about, yes, rainbow clouds are an actual thing. Take a look at these iridescent clouds, which were captured on camera by netizen Sierre Nicole Tapuik in Rizal, Nueva Ecija on July 6, 2020:
In her Facebook post, Sierre indicated that she took these photos at 5:45 pm.
What are iridescent clouds?
Iridescent clouds — also known as “rainbow clouds” and “fire rainbows” — are caused when sunlight (or even moonlight) is scattered by small water droplets or small ice crystals in the sky. Usually, the colors in iridescent clouds are pastel, but they can also be quite vivid. The colors can resemble those seen in soap bubbles, oil on water, or mother-of-pearl.
Are iridescent clouds rare?
This may be hard to believe — seeing as they look pretty otherworldly — but iridescent clouds are actually pretty common. Like ordinary rainbows, iridescent clouds can usually be seen before or after thunderstorms. According to National Geographic, these clouds often appear in the late afternoon, on hot and humid days. Most of these rainbow clouds form over the top of cumulus clouds (the clouds that look like fluffy popcorn).
However, rainbow clouds can be difficult to spot near the sun due to the glare. If you see iridescent clouds near the sun, you could admire them by shielding the sun with your hand or positioning yourself so the sun is behind a tree or building. You could also use dark glasses or observe the clouds through a mirror or pool of water.
Have you ever seen iridescent clouds yourself? Share your photos with us using the hashtag #WindowSeatPH!