Check out these cool clouds!
We see cumulus and cirrus clouds all of the time, but sometimes the unique properties of the atmosphere can transform these clouds into a rare and unique sight! Cloud iridescence shined bright and beautifully in Brazil.
Cloud iridescence happens in a high cloud filled with tiny water droplets that have space in between them. The sunlight shines through the cloud, and is diffracted off of the surfaces of the water droplets. As different wavelengths scatter off of the water droplets, an array of beautiful colors is displayed.
We can see cloud iridescence in clouds here in Michiana, but it is most common in lenticular clouds. Ironically, a beautiful picture of lenticular clouds taken yesterday in Wells, Nevada. Lenticular clouds form near mountains, but smaller ones have been spotted near Grand Rapids, Michigan in the past. They're sometimes called U.F.O clouds because of their shape. Cloud iridescence is normally found on the top and outer parts of the cloud.
Lenticular clouds form when air rises on the windward side of the mountain, the air cools as it rises, and usually cools down to the dewpoint temperature. When it does, clouds form. The air keeps flowing to the leeward side of the mountain in waves causing air to rise and fall. When it rises it condenses, and when it falls, it evaporates. Lenticular clouds form on the ridges of the waves when the air rises, and layers begin to form.