We all like seeing rainbows in the sky after rainfall. They give the sky a beautiful shape with their magnificent colors that catch your eyes. To see fire rainbows in the sky sounds to be completely unbelievable. It is impossible to see fire in the sky as its place is on earth, so what makes it appears in the sky with the fabulous colors of rainbows. The fire rainbow is a natural phenomenon that occurs in the atmosphere and it is also known as a “circumhorizontal arc”. This unique phenomenon happens in high level circus clouds as ice crystals which are plat shaped form an ice-halo with the help of the sunlight.
♦ What is the real and scientific name of this phenomenon?
The scientific names for this unique phenomenon are “circumhorizon arc” and “lower symmetric 46° plate arc”. The term “fire rainbows” is not the real or scientific name for this phenomenon because it is not a rainbow or a fire but people use this term to describe the shape of this phenomenon that looks like fire-shaped rainbows.
The halo is formed around the sun with multiple colors which are the same colors of rainbows. The red color comes on the top of all colors and it is not necessary to see the whole halo or arc as when the cloud that is responsible for forming halo is small, then you will be able to see just fragments of the formed arc. The number of times in which you can see this phenomenon depends on your latitude and location.
♦ How is the halo formed?
Forming this natural and catchy phenomenon requires many factors that help in the appearance of the halo. It is necessary for the sun to be high in the sky as its elevation should be 58° or more, there should be a cirrus cloud and this cirrus cloud should contain ice crystals which are plate shaped. The altitude of the sun determines the ability to see the halo and it differs from one place to another which makes some people see this phenomenon while the others cannot. The light of the sun passes through a cirrus cloud that contains hexagon plate-shaped ice crystals to give us this magnificent shapes and colors that beautify the sky.
♦ Where can you see this phenomenon?
This phenomenon is more common in the United States as you can see the halo more than one time during summer season, while it is rarely seen in other places such as northern Europe. The sun becomes high in the sky in London for 140 hours and this is from mid-May to late July while in Los Angeles, the sun’s elevation is higher than 58 degrees for 670 hours from late March to late September which is a good factor for allowing you to enjoy seeing the halo several times.