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Neat shot: a circumhorizontal arc

Image: Todd Sladoje

Image: Todd Sladoje

Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Sunday, May 25, 2014, 8:33 AM - You don't often see these, but thanks to Todd Sladoje being in the right place at the right time with a decent camera, we have this awesome shot of a circumhorizontal arc.

It looks for all the world like someone tipped a rainbow on its side, and they are in fact sometimes called 'fire rainbows,' but circumhorizontal arcs are a little different, and require a highly specific set of circumstances.

First, the sun must be at lest 58 degrees in the sky, and cirrus clouds have to be in the area. Then, the countless ice crystals, shaped like flat hexagons, that make up those clouds have to be more or less horizontal. They'll then catch the light just right, refracting it into those lovely colours, according to NASA.

This particular one was shot above the town of Dublin, Ohio, in 2009. It's been making the rounds again lately due to its selection by NASA as its Astronomy Picture of the Day on Saturday.

"It was just a picture I took at my daughter's lacrosse game," Sladoje told The Weather Network. "I took about eight pictures and this was the best one since it was with my polarized sunglasses over the lens."

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