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Beautiful skies

Rare rainbow over Idaho

New Zealand certainly has its fair share of those. And I’ve been bad not photographing many of them.

This sky and rare “rainbow” were spotted over Idaho. The “rainbow” arc spanned several hundred square miles of sky and lasted for about an hour. It isn’t a real rainbow as such, but rather:

The circumhorizontal arc is caused by light passing through wispy, high-altitude cirrus clouds. The sight occurs only when the sun is very high in the sky (more than 58° above the horizon). What’s more, the hexagonal ice crystals that make up cirrus clouds must be shaped like thick plates with their faces parallel to the ground.

When light enters through a vertical side face of such an ice crystal and leaves from the bottom face, it refracts, or bends, in the same way that light passes through a prism. If a cirrus’s crystals are aligned just right, the whole cloud lights up in a spectrum of colors.

Read the full article on

I hereby also promise to photograph a few of the beautiful skies that grace Wellington during the next few weeks.

Category: visual stimuli


4 Responses

  1. Penny says:

    that’s pretty cool! I hope you photograph one like that!

    There was an amazing rainbow yesterday morning just as I was walking to work :)

  2. pea says:

    I hope so too. We’ll have to wait for summer to see one of these I think. The sun is too low right now.

    Glad you saw a cool rainbow. :)

  3. Brenda says:

    There’s a flickr group here for Nz skies

  4. pea says:

    Hey, nice. Thanks Brenda!

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Dark Was The Night

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