As a child, I used to believe that rainbows were made by unicorns and angels. It took me quite some time to get to know the scientific mechanisms behind this natural phenomena. Technically known as circumhorizontal arcs, these optical illusions occur when the sun is higher than 58 in the sky. The other thing that is instrumental in the formation of rainbows is cirrus clouds. They are thin clouds occurring at higher altitudes; they exist in low temperatures. Therefore, they are made of hexagonal ice crystals. These crystals act as a prism when optimally aligned. And the result of this? Refractions that are reminiscent of a rainbow.
It is a widely believed misconception that such halos are rare. In reality, their frequency depends on location in a particular latitude. You can see them several times in summer if you are in the United States. However, they are quite rare in mid-latitude and northern Europe. For example, the potential for these “fire rainbows” to form in Los Angeles is 5-10 times higher than in London.
#1. Cessna Kutz is the photographer who captured a magnificent fire rainbow over Lake Sammamish.
#2. “Witnessed a pretty cool phenomenon out on lake Sammamish today,” Cessna writes on her Instagram upon sharing the mesmerizing shot. “A horizontal rainbow! To me, it was a little reminder to hold onto hope and love instead of fear and panic in these unknown times. Stay safe out there, friends.”
When the photographer shared the photos they went viral instantly.
“I honestly had no idea these photos would make the news,” Cessna shared with one news outlet. “I just wanted to share a beautiful moment I got to witness. I’m super passionate about photography so I’m grateful that God has used my photos to touch people, not only throughout the nation but throughout the world. It has boosted my photography business as well by making an impact on people so it feels pretty amazing.”