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Hues of Nature: Fire Rainbow

We all are aware of rainbows and I am sure most of us are fortunate to see it also. How wonderful and beautiful it looks in the bright sky. But if I say fire rainbow, we have an eeire feeling. However, fire rainbow has nothing to do either with fire nor rainbow.  The spectacular event causes rainbow-like colours that floats across in the sky and gives the appearance of flames. Scientifically, it is referred to as circumhorizontal arc and are in fact optical illusions

Certain prerequisites for the occurrence of fire rainbow includes latitude of a place and  the elevation of the sun. Also the right type of cloud should be present for a fire rainbow.

According to a spokesperson in NASA, the sun should at least be at 58 degrees in the sky and cirrus clouds should be around. Moreover, the many, flat, hexagonal ice-crystals that make up the cirrus cloud must be aligned horizontally to suitably refract sunlight like a single enormous prism. Hence, circumhorizon arcs are quite unusual to see. However, Iridescent clouds and infralateral arcs can also create beautiful rainbow-coloured clouds.

As a matter of fact, places near the equator or that has a mid latitude are the best to view fire rainbow.

Fire rainbows were spotted in Peru in Marche 2017 and people reportedly got scared thinking it to be a work of some angry God. When a rainbow in the sky is for sure brings about a smile, I am sure the sight of fire rainbow is sure to bring smile and amazement at the same time.


By: Subrata Dey



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