Rare ice rainbow clicked in Britain

Sunday, October 24, 2010

LONDON - A British photographer has captured on camera an optical phenomenon known as an ice rainbow, whose brilliant white light almost blinded him while driving.

Photographer Reyaz Limalia spotted the rare sight while driving near Birdlip, Gloucestershire, and stopped the car to take a picture, although not before he nearly crashed into another vehicle due to the radiant light reflecting on his windscreen.

The optical phenomenon is an ice-halo formed by plate shaped ice crystals in atmospheric clouds, characterized by thin, wisplike strands leading to their main clump, known as cirrus, reports the Daily Mail.

Known to weather officials as a “22 degrees halo” because of its circular formation of 22 degrees around the Sun, Rayez is one of the only few to have captured the rare sight on camera.

“I almost blinded myself and drove into oncoming traffic as I kept staring into the Sun,” Reyaz said. “It was the most spectacular phenomenon I’ve seen in years.

“I just thought how is this rainbow a complete circle, and why is it around the Sun?” he said.

“According to my investigation it’s not a rainbow. It’s formed by sunlight refracting through ice crystals in the clouds. It’s essentially an icebow,” he said.

Filed under: Science and Technology

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