Iridescent Clouds

By: Destiny Brown

What are Iridescent clouds?

Iridescent clouds are the occurrence of colors in a cloud similar to those seen when you blow a bubble. It is a fairly uncommon phenomenon, most often observed in altocumulus, cirrocumulus, and cirrus clouds. The colors that occur doing an iridescent cloud are typically pastel colors, but can be very vivid. Iridescent clouds are a diffraction (the process by which a beam of light or other system of waves is spread out as a result of passing across an edge) phenomenon caused by small water droplets or small ice crystals individually scattering light and usually occur after thunderstorms, just like regular rainbows. Did you know that they are known as "Fire Rainbows" or "Rainbow Clouds"?