Ask Josh: What's that in the sky?

Meteorologist Josh Fitzpatrick explains some of the interesting weather sights you may have seen recently.

I've been talking clouds recently and I've received some interesting pictures from our e-Reporters from across the region.  A question came into my cloud types blog from Kathy Rizer-Lehew, she says: "My family was out driving and my mom saw a Currus cloud and it had all the colors of the rainbow in it. All the other clouds were white. I know that sun through rain will produce a rain bow but why this one cloud. It was a beautiful sunny day,no rain. Help Josh"

This photo (above) was submitted by an e-Reporter by the name of Josh and it was taken on Sunday, May 17.  Kathy, I believe this sounds like what you may have also seen.  Here's how and why it forms.  It's the sun shining through the ice crystal clouds known as cirrus clouds.  The light from the sun is being refracted or bent causing a "rainbow".  In this case it's not a rainbow at all, although it's the same principle as making a rainbow when you have rain drops.  The rain drops bend or refract the light so we see the colors of the spectrum.  In the photo the clouds are bending the light so we see the colors.

Here's another great photo (below) taken the same day locally.  It was submitted by e-Reporter, Bobbie.  It shows a ring or halo around the sun.  It's the same principle as the colors in the clouds in the photo above.  In this case, rather than casting colors, you see a halo or ring around the sun as the light is being refracted or bent by the high level ice crystal, cirrus clouds.

Keep those great questions and photo's coming!  If you have a weather related questions or comments, simply submit them below.  Thanks for reading!

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