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Colors in the Sky

Colors in the Sky

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I saw this in the sky around noon and thought it looked really cool. It's a rainbow but there was no storm, does it have a particular name and if so what is it called? Does it have any meaning? Feel free to use the pictures if you would like to.


Dallas E. SLC, UT


Good eyes Dallas! Awesome photos, one of the best I've seen of such phenomena! That is a circumhorizontal arc! It's not a halo or rainbow. It's made out of ice. Actually, the ice crystals are shaped like hexagons, the light is bent in these crystals and you get a prism of light, those colors you see.

Does it have meaning? Well, whenever there's ice in the sky it's a good indication that some sort of frontal system is coming. Tomorrow we have a cold front coming through so you are seeing the ice clouds out of ahead of it. It's good to know about halos and arcs, it can help you realize that inclement weather most likely on the way.

You can find out more about unusual arcs and halos on the link on the right. You can also click on the photo from Dallas to see it in a larger size. We love optical photos so keep that camera handy!

Answered by KSL Meteorologist Dina Freedman.

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