Although technically neither a “rainbow” nor “fire,” catching a glimpse of this phenomenon has put a spring in everyone’s step.
On 20 February a brightly colored mass could be seen floating above the city-state of Singapore. One resident just happened to spot it as they were out on the street and immediately began to record the event.
This is what the person who took the video had to say:
“I was walking towards my bus stop when I found myself in awe of this beautiful cloud and the myriad of colors that was bursting out of it. This is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, and I literally turned on Facebook Live to share the exact moment that I saw it! I was feeling pretty down over the past week, but this has immediately lifted my spirits. Without a doubt, I praise God for this miracle in the sky!”
Other who saw the video were touched as well with comments such as:
“It’s a UFO!”
“I feel like something good is going to happen.”
“Nature is really wonderful.”
“We may not get the Northern Lights down here, but at least we can see this.”
Many also identified this as a case of “rainbow fire” which is not an emo band but a term for the optical phenomenon called a circumhorizontal arc. This occurs when sunlight hits large crystals of ice suspended in the air at just the right angle to create a rainbow-like band of colors.
However, judging from the video it looks more like cloud iridescence. This is very similar to rainbow fire in that ice crystals are scattering light, but in this case the crystals are smaller. The effect is more like the array of colors you might see on a soap bubble rather than the prismatic bands of colors a rainbow has.
Whatever it is, it sure is purdy and thanks to the advent of social networks and mobile phone cameras, we can all enjoy this and other spectacles of nature. In fact, I’m so moved by this image, I’m not even going to complain that the person didn’t turn their phone sideways.