A mysterious colourful cloud was spotted over Costa Rica on Tuesday, baffling the local citizens.
Costa Ricans were surprised by a multicoloured formation that appeared last week over Escazu. The locals could not explain this weird phenomena and one of the bystanders even thought that this was a sign of the apocalypse.
Jessie Montealegre, the person who recorded the video and then uploaded it on YouTube, stated that “the skies opened up” which made people stop in their ways and stare at the amazing view. The video was taken on the Independence Day of Costa Rica, Montealegre added.
Fortunately, scientists have it all figured out. According to them, this phenomena is known as cloud incandescence. In 2007, a similar cloud was seen over Boulder in Colorado.
“These clouds are formed of small water droplets of nearly uniform size. When the sun is in the right position and mostly hidden by thick clouds, these thinner clouds significantly diffract sunlight in a nearly coherent manner, with different colours being deflected by different amounts. Therefore, different colours will come to the observer from slightly different directions,” scientists from NASA said.
The cloud is called pileus, also known as cap cloud or scarf cloud. It has a “hoodlike” look because is sits like a cap above a cumulonimbus or cumulus cloud. These types of clouds are usually formed by a strong updraft (current of rising air) in the cumulus cloud. The cap clouds are normally indicators of bad weather as they form during the development of a thunderstorm. The whole layer of air above the storm is lifted due to the the upward motion. Cloud droplets are formed when the thin layer cools and condenses, which generates the flat, horizontal cloud that stays above the storm.
The pileus can be spotted when a thunderstorm forms, but they do not last very long. The spectacular colours (iridescence) appear when the sun is positioned behind the cloud and its light goes through the cap cloud. The iridescence is an optical phenomena that occurs when the sun shines its light onto a cloud. Apart from iridescence, there are many other similar phenomena.
People in Wisconsin witnessed a rain-bow like cloud appear in the sky, earlier this summer. The fire rainbow, as it is commonly referred to, occurs when the light refracts through the ice crystals that are found in clouds.
Image Source: strangesounds