Letter | Published:

Iridescent Clouds

Nature volume 31, page 193 | Download Citation



REFERRING to the letters which have appeared in these columns on the subject of “Iridescent Clouds” as seen at Edinburgh and York on the evening of December 11, a very similar phenomenon was seen at Derby at sunrise on that day, and was thus described in the Derby Express the same evening:— “About half an hour before sunrise the eastern half of the sky was covered with a dense pallium of cirrus cloud. About 30° above the horizon was seen what appeared to be an elongated opening in the dark grey of the cloud. Through this spindle-shaped opening the sky was of an intense emerald colour. The strangest part of the phenomenon, however, occurred shortly before eight o'clock, when the vivid green had given place to a mass of brightness comprising all the prismatic colours arranged in bands transversely, each of the primary colours shading gradually into its neighbour in the same manner as in a solar rainbow. The appearance was now not unlike a huge many-coloured eye set in a dark uniformity of cirro-stratus. As the sun arose the colouring faded, and when the solar orb was several degrees above the horizon the phenomenon remained as a patch of brightness upon a silver-grey vapour, and was somewhat similar in appearance to an imperfectly formed parhelion. Its position, however, with regard to the true sun, showed at once that the phenomenon was not of the parhelion class.”

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