Clouds in Central Florida put on a show Sunday.
Many people in Brevard County posted photos to social media showing off cool-looking rainbow clouds. Photographer Greg Scott captured the colorful clouds and shared them with News 6.
But what are they really?
According to News 6 meteorologist Troy Bridges, they are called cloud iridescence.
“This is rare,” Bridges said. “Several factors need to be in place in order for this to happen. The recipe for iridescence: very thin clouds with lots of water droplets that happen to be the same size. Then the sun’s rays must pass through only a few droplets at a time. This usually happens as clouds are just developing. That’s what happened when these photos were taken.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says on its SciJinks website, “Cloud iridescence 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.”
Late yesterday afternoon, just as the storm clouds were moving in, I noticed these ice crystals that had formed at the top of one of the clouds. Notice as the upper level winds blow them around into beautiful formations just above Cape Canaveral. @StormHour #Nikon @ThePhotoHour pic.twitter.com/aKyxjcd7Nf— Greg Scott (@GregScott_photo) August 8, 2021