Lovelock Iridescence

February 14, 2004


Provided and copyright by: Judy Mosby
Summary authors & editors: Judy Mosby; Les Cowley

Flirtatious iridescent clouds are shown above gracing the skies over Lovelock, Nevada. When parts of clouds are thin and have droplets of similar sizes, they can shine with diffracted light colours, just like a corona. In fact, they're actually corona fragments. The effect is called cloud iridescence or irisation, terms derived from Iris the Greek personification of the rainbow. The usually delicate colours are typically seen in patches or in bands at cloud edges. They're only organised in coronal rings when the droplet size is uniform right across the cloud. The bands and colours change or come and go as the cloud evolves. It's known that uniform size droplets occur mostly when clouds are in the act of forming or dispersing. Always be sure to safely hide the Sun behind a building or tree to view iridescence. This photo was taken at sunrise (7:28 A.M. Pacific Standard Time) on November 25, 2003.

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