Unusual phenomenon creates a rainbow inside a cloud

Taken in Ballina on October 16, weird rainbow
Taken in Ballina on October 16, weird rainbow

STEVEN Foster was just about to pack up his camera when he spotted something unusual in the sky over Ballina's Lighthouse Lookout yesterday.

An unusual cloud formation, complete with rainbow colours, had formed at about 11.40am, and the professional photographer who has the business Camera on the Move Photography, snapped a few photos.

Others at the lookout were impressed with the colourful sight, which only lasted about five minutes or so.

Dr Bill Boyd, professor of geography at Southern Cross University, said the cloud was an iridescent cloud which the light had caught at just the right angle.

"This a relatively unusual, but not rare, phenomenon, in which sunlight is scattered and refracted by tiny water droplets or ice crystals in the cloud," he said.

"This is much the same as the way a rainbow forms.

"Sunlight comprises light of different wavelengths, and as the light passes through the droplets of crystals at certain angles, the light separates out into the colours we see."

Topics:  weather

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