Iridescent Clouds Above Kilcoy, Australia

June 23, 2011

Photographer: Jeanette Dunphy
Summary Author: Jeanette Dunphy; Jim Foster

The photo above featuring metallic iridescent clouds was captured over Kilcoy, Australia. I was imaging sunspots through my ED80 telescope (shown above) when I noticed some bothersome clouds were passing in front of the solar disk. Though they interrupted my observing, the resulting display of iridescence was spectacular! Clouds that produce iridescent colors are typically found at mid-altitude levels of the troposphere. They're composed of tiny water droplets, which act to deflect sunlight in such a way to interfere with the coloration we would expect to see if we were looking at a rainbow, for instance. Take care to protect your eyes when looking toward the Sun. Photo taken on June 6, 2011.

Photo details: Canon camera - in manual mode; 1/1250th second exposure; F8; ISO 80. A little processing was done in Photoshop CS3.