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What were those 'rainbow clouds' over Utah?

Posted at 4:43 PM, Jun 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-21 18:43:00-04

TREMONTON, Utah — The Fourth of July isn't for a few weeks, but an incredible show was seen over the skies of Utah on Tuesday.

FOX 13 News viewers sent in a bunch of photos of what appeared to be "rainbow clouds" featuring lush colors against a bright blue sky. Most of the photos were taken in the Tremonton area in northern Utah.

While "rainbow clouds" are the perfect slang term for what was seen, the occurrence is actually called cloud iridescence, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NOAA says the "phenomenon happens when small water droplets or small ice crystals scatter the sun's light" in a variety of different clouds.

Because clouds have to be thin and also contain a lot of water droplets or ice crystals, cloud iridescence is an extremely rare event.

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