Caught these irridescent clouds just as a thunderstorm moved through the area. Here's an explanation from http://www.ouramazingplanet.com/3275-amazing-photo-fire-rainbow-over-south-florida.html (Their write-up featured another photographer's image.)
So-called "fire rainbows" are neither on fire nor are they rainbows, but they sure are stunning.
They are technically known as iridescent clouds, a relatively rare phenomenon caused by clouds of water droplets of nearly uniform size, according to a release by NASA. These clouds diffract, or bend, light in a similar manner, which separates out light into different wavelengths, or colors. Although iridescent clouds have rainbow-like colors, the way light is scattered to produce them is slightly different. Rainbows are formed by refraction and reflection. When light is refracted, it is bent by passing through mediums of different densities, such as water or a prism. Reflected light bounces off a surface at an angle equal to the angle it hit the surface at. Diffraction, though, involves light waves being scattered into a ring-like pattern.
As with other iridescent objects, like peacock feathers, the color changes depending upon one's position relative to the sun and the object.
Iridescence usually occurs in newly formed clouds. That appears to be the case here as well. According to the Weather Channel, these are pileus clouds caused by a fast-growing thunderstorm that shoved air into the upper atmosphere through a layer of moisture. This created a fog-like cloud that looks like a glowing dome atop the thunderstorm.
Critiques | Translate
batalay (39271) 2012-08-06 12:56
This is a veritable piece of abstract art, indeed nature imitating art. You've composed the shot exquisitely, and managed the light flawlessly. In a sense, it is also a double rainbow on the left and a third one on the right. The gradation of the colors from the long wavelengths (red) to the violet occurs in three different area.
jurgen (2074) 2012-08-07 5:11
A very nice shot. I do not remember having seen these clouds ever. Just by the image it cannot be said how big or small they are. What lens did you use to photograph them? It seems that some wind was blowing up there.
kabel (1930) 2012-08-08 19:28
Hello, what an amazing photograph. Thanks for turning me on to a new website www.ouramazingplanet. Wonderful light management and I am guessing that you used a filter. Excellent sharp contrast between the black and white in the clouds.
Noel_Byrne (32090) 2014-08-15 12:04
This is incredible, I have never heard of or seen this phenomenon before, and what an amazing sight, congratulations on capturing this truly beautiful spectacle, and congrats on your skill in framing it so well, capturing the light and bringing out this color. Fantastic image, I am amazed this only has three comments before mine.
P.S. thanks for your note, I hope you had a good holiday in Ireland. I really hope you post some of your captures