iridescent Clouds Observed from Tuen Mun, Hong Kong

October 17, 2022

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Photographer: Terry Lui  
Summary Author: Terry LuiJim Foster

I observed these two iridescent clouds on the same day, June 1, 2022, from Tuen Mun, Hong Kong. The cloud at top is likely an altocumulus cloud in the incipient stage of formation, and the cloud at bottom is a pileus cloud. Both clouds show iridescence or irisation because their cloud droplets are small (perhaps 1/100 the size of a raindrop) and all are about the same size. The pastel colors result from the process of diffraction – light waves are interfered with by the small droplets in such a way that orders of colors overlap each other.


Tuen Mun, Hong Kong Coordinates: 22.3908, 113.9725

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