‘Pretty spectacular’: More ‘rainbow clouds’ photographed over South Island

'Pretty spectacular': More 'rainbow clouds' photographed over South Island
Photo: Glen Varney/Charmian Bennett
Rainbow clouds photographed over Sooke on June 25, 2024.

Skywatchers looked in awe as “rainbow clouds” made another appearance over south Vancouver Island, emitting colours like red, orange, yellow, and green.

People emailed photos to CHEK News Tuesday afternoon, showing the “relatively rare” spectacle known as cloud iridescence, says the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) SciJinks.

“Iridescent clouds happen because of diffraction – a phenomenon that occurs when small water droplets or small ice crystals scatter the sun’s light,” it says.

Charmian Bennett couldn’t believe what she saw.

“We live here in Sooke. (The clouds) were over the Strait of Juan de Fuca,” said Bennett, who snapped photos around 1:30 p.m.

Rev. Heidi in Langford, meanwhile, was next to her church when she pulled out her camera.

“I thought you might appreciate this unusual photo taken today outside Gordon United Church in Langford,” she said.

A seldom sight

According to the NOAA, it’s a sight seldom seen, though earlier this month “rainbow clouds” were photographed nearby, including from downtown Victoria and Discovery Island.

National Geographic describes the clouds as “a halo of multicoloured mist,” adding, “At first glance, it looks like an angelic mural or even extraterrestrial activity.”

The NOAA says it’s rare because the clouds “must be thin and have lots of water droplets or ice crystals of about the same size.”

The weather education site adds that the sun’s rays strike just a few droplets at a time, with semi-transparent clouds, or ones that are just forming, most likely to have iridescence.

“They’re pretty spectacular. It’s neat,” added Bennett.

While she sent her photos to CHEK, others took to a local social media group, calling them “beauty clouds.”

Photos of Tuesday’s “rainbow clouds” are below:

(Photo: Rev. Heidi)

(Photo: Glen Varney/Charmian Bennett)

(Photo: Glen Varney/Charmian Bennett)

(Photo: Glen Varney/Charmian Bennett)

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!