Sunday Science Tidbit; Iridescent Clouds

Last Thursday, social media blew up about a rare iridescent cloud in Cuba. Many said it was the end of the world. They used #ElCieloExtraño meaning strange sky. In today’s Sunday Science Tidbit we’re going to explore what caused this spectacular spectacle.

clouds sst close up 1

Iridescent clouds are not all that rare but finding a iridescent pileus cloud is not very common at all. Let’s break down those weather words.

soap bubbleclouds sst close up 3

Iridescence is a phenomena where sunlight hits tiny water droplets in a thin cloud. It is typically seen closer to the sun. This is a common phenomena that happened when you blow a soap bubble and see a rainbow of colors on the surface!


 

Pileus cloud

A pileus cloud is also known as a cap cloud or lenticular cloud (we’ve talked about these before!) Here’s a refresher. Pileus clouds are typically found above a thunderstorm (much like the one in Cuba). You form these clouds by moving the air above a thunderstorm upward creating a wispy looking cloud. These clouds can be thin and if conditions are right… you can get an iridescent pileus cloud.


 

~ Meteorologist Candice Boling

candice head shot

{Information and pictures courtesy: atoptics.co.uk, webexhibits.org, instagram.com }


 Have an idea for an upcoming Sunday Science Tidbit? Send your idea below:

Information and pictures courtesy: atoptics.co.uk, webexhibits.org, instagram.com

WNCT-TV 9 On Your Side provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s