A rare event and a stunning display was available for viewers when a fire rainbow colored the Southern California sky under the eyes of beachgoers. Hundreds of pictures were snapped and uploaded to social media accounts of this phenomenon, that is said to occur only a few times per year in the United States.
However, it’s very uncommon for it to flaunt its colorful spectrum to the eyes of onlookers, which makes images that much more rarer. There are many beautiful displays of nature that most of us unknowingly miss, but people visiting the beach in South California were offered a few minutes of experiencing a rare display.
While more formally called a circumhorizontal arc, it’s colloquially known as a “fire rainbow”, an amazing display of colors that has apparently little relation to an actual rainbow, and certainly nothing to do with fire. However, “circumhorizontal arc” is marginally less catchy.
It takes precise circumstances for it to appear streaking across the sky. They occur when sunlight meets the plate-shaped ice crystals within our planet’s atmosphere, banded together in what are called horizontally aligned cirrus clouds.
The bright light from the sun is then dispersed into the colorful spectrum, not dissimilar to a rainbow, but unlike its more common counterpart, fire rainbows require ice crystals instead of water droplets. According to meteorologist, Justin Lock, it also requires precise angles for the light to hit the formations, otherwise nothing special would happen.
In order for such a stunning display to viewed, the sun must be between 52 and 58 degrees above the horizon, and the clouds have to be just at the right angle. It’s truly a rare set of circumstances, but the lucky onlookers have made sure to run it through an extensive photoshoot to share with the world.
Instagram and Facebook accounts have exploded with pictures of the fire rainbow above the beach in South California. If anyone remembers the guy whose reaction to a double rainbow went viral across the internet a few years ago, it can’t be helped but wonder what kind of enthusiastic ways he would have chosen for this even rarer occurrence.
The astounding spectrum of colors, randomly formed as if the wings of an angle, according to one of the onlookers, is now available in a myriad of photos to enjoy. It’s quite fortunate for those who have missed it that a good majority of the population are now owners of smart phones with high-end cameras to properly capture nature’s rare moments.
Image source: mmc-news.com