Iridescent Clouds Over Pilesgrove, New Jersey

December 17, 2014


LisaGiridescentcloud copy333Photographer: Lisa Gonnelli
Summary Authors: Lisa Gonnelli; Jim Foster

Shown above are beautifully colored mid-level clouds as observed over Pilesgrove, New Jersey on September 30, 2014. Their iridescent hues result from diffraction of sunlight by minute, similar-sized water droplets that compose these altocumulus clouds. These droplets are from 10 times to as much as 1,000 times smaller than ordinary raindrops. In order to see iridescent colors in clouds, you generally need to look within about 20 degrees or so from the Sun, or about two fists when held at arm's length from the solar disk. Always protect your eyes when looking anywhere near the Sun. Photo taken at about 1:15 p.m.