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Photographer's Note

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.

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Howard Goldberg (xtxhoward) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 14 W: 1 N: 31] (221)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2012-07-31
  • Categories: Nature
  • Exposure: f/5.6, 1/640 seconds
  • More Photo Info: view
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2012-08-06 12:32
  • Favorites: 1 [view]
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Points: 6
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