Iridescent Clouds over Sweden

A relatively rare phenomenon in clouds known as iridescence can bring up unusual colors vividly or even a whole spectrum of colors simultaneously.   Image credit Göran Strand.

These polar stratospheric clouds, also known as nacreous and mother-of-pearl clouds, are formed of small water droplets of nearly uniform size.



When the Sun is in the right position and, typically, hidden from direct view, these thin clouds can be seen significantly diffracting sunlight in a nearly coherent manner, with different colors being deflected by different amounts. Therefore, different colors will come to the observer from slightly different directions. Many clouds start with uniform regions that could show iridescence but quickly become too thick, too mixed, or too angularly far from the Sun to exhibit striking colors.

The featured image and an the video were taken late last year over Ostersund, Sweden.

Professional photographer Göran Strand, Sweden:

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source APOD