03 September 2021

Fire rainbow

The science behind this extraordinary phenomenon is explained at NASA's Astronomy Photo of the Day.


  1. Can't help being pedantic again ;) This is actually the exact same optical phenomenon as in your post on the fallstreak hole: a circumhorizon (or circumhorizontal) arc. The flame-like appearance of this gorgeous example is purely the result of the clouds being shaped like that. Had the clouds been more regular, the arc would have appeared as a continuous "rainbow" band parallel to the horizon (hence the name). Atmospheric optics enthusiasts get a little grumpy when people call it a "fire rainbow", but I've got to admit the name sounds catchy.

  2. I had posted a couple of photos of a 'fire rainbow' that Drabkikker describes on my blog a while back: Fire rainbow - and Drabkikker was kind to comment on those there.

  3. Did I? Goodness, I am pedantic, aren't I? ;)

    Kidding aside, I would love to see me one of these in real life; they must be breathtaking to behold. Unfortunately I live at a latitude where the Sun doesn't rise high enough for them to form, so I should either take a trip south, or hope for a super-rare lunar circumhorizon arc.

  4. That - Atmospheric Optics https://www.atoptics.co.uk/index.htm - is THE site for sky and weather phenomenon explanations and examples!


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