The Fiery Fire Rainbow

The “Circumhorizontal Arc”, more commonly known as the “Fire Rainbow” is a unique and strikingly beautiful natural phenomenon that is observed in the atmosphere. It occurs in high-level cirrus clouds in the form of ice crystals and with a little help from the sunlight, a halo is formed. The term Fire Rainbow itself is not real or scientifically accurate and is just used to describe its shape as it appears like a rainbow that is fire-shaped.

The Fire Rainbow frequently occurs in the US and is often apparent in the summer at various locations. And it is not so common in other areas such as the northern parts of Europe etc. In London, during mid-May to late July, the sun goes high in the sky for 140 hours, and in Los Angeles, from late March to late September, the elevation may increase up to 58 degrees for 670 hours. During such conditions, the halo can be seen several times a year.

Here are some fascinating pictures of the phenomenon!

The colorful sky in Michigan. (Credit: Derek W, via Wikimedia Commons)
Fire Rainbow can be seen in the background. (Credit: Attila Magyar, via flickr)
Here it can be seen in the background. (Credit: Attila Magyar, via Flickr)
The West Virginia skies offering a mesmerizing sight. (Credit: Jeff Kubina, via Flickr)
The optical phenomenon formed by the refraction of light in ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere.
(Source: Pinterest)
The optical phenomenon formed by the refraction of light in ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere. (Source: Pinterest)
The rare 'Fire Rainbow' seen here above a mountain. (Source: Oleg Bartunove via APOD)
The rare ‘Fire Rainbow’ seen here above a mountain. (Source: Oleg Bartunove via APOD)
It occurs in high-level cirrus clouds in the form of ice crystals and with a little help from the sunlight, a halo is formed. (Source: Dave McGlinchey)
It occurs in high-level cirrus clouds in the form of ice crystals and with a little help from the sunlight, a halo is formed. (Source: Dave McGlinchey)

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