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Rainbow cloud spotted in Salina-- What's a rainbow cloud?

PHOTO- Rainbow cloud
Posted at 10:40 AM, Jul 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-16 11:40:54-04

SALINA, Okla. — A viewer in Salina, Okla. snapped a picture of a rainbow cloud and sent it to the 2 News weather team.

So... what's a rainbow cloud?

A rainbow cloud can occur because of something called cloud iridescence. It usually happens in altocumulus, cirrocumulus, lenticular and cirrus clouds. Iridescent clouds happen because of diffraction – a phenomenon that occurs when small water droplets or small ice crystals scatter the sun's light. The colors are usually pastel, but can be very vivid or mingled together, sometimes similar to mother-of-pearl.

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