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Nature | Rainbow cloud

Rainbow 'ghost cloud' forms in Utah, see it here


Leeanna McLean
Digital Reporter

Sunday, March 25, 2018, 20:33 - Herriman, Utah resident Wendi Fuller was driving home from work on Monday when she noticed a strange-looking multi-colored cloud in the sky.

She pulled into her driveway and managed to capture the phenomenon on camera. Fuller told Storyful that the rainbow cloud disappeared minutes after filming the sky. See the footage below.

The Weather Network meteorologist Caroline Floyd says while they may seem bizarre, these cloud formations are fairly common. 

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Scientists call them iridescent clouds.

Science Behind

"They are caused when small water droplets or ice crystals scatter sunlight. When the droplets or crystals are all similar in size, they split the incoming sunlight as a prism would, leading to the rainbow effect," explains Floyd. "The principle is similar to halos we sometimes see around the sun and moon; the main difference is that, to get the rainbow effect, most of the rays of sunlight must only diffract through a single droplet. Halos also tend to form through relatively thicker clouds with larger droplets."


Visit our Complete Guide to Spring 2018 for an in depth look at the Spring Forecast, tips to plan for it and much more.


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