Residents of the city of Haikou in the Chinese province of Hainan were puzzled by an extremely rare atmospheric phenomenon. People were literally stunned with the sight of unusual clouds with “RGB-illumination” which left them feeling something surreal and supernatural.
If you look at the pictures and videos, it looks beautiful and apocalyptic at the same time, doesn’t it? Fortunately for those who are constantly nervously waiting for another sign of the end of the world, there is a completely valid scientific explanation for the iridescent cloud, which experts call the pileus or scarf cloud.
A smooth pileus forms over a cumulus cloud during a thunderstorm updraft. When the sun’s rays hit the millions of tiny ice crystals or water droplets in such a cloud, the light diffracts and creates the bright colors of the rainbow, as shown in videos and pictures shot by eyewitnesses.
Being so charming in their appearance, these clouds are often short-lived. The main cloud below them eventually rises through the process of convection and absorbs the iridescent cloud above.
Pileus cumulus clouds often foreshow tough weather. But they also form over mountains, ash clouds, pyrocumulus clouds from volcanic eruptions, and even some mushroom clouds after intense nuclear explosions. However, it’s extremely rare for such clouds to produce beautiful rainbow effects like the ones seen in Haikou, so we can definitely consider the residents very lucky to see such an amazing sight up close.
We previously reported of a new type of aurora borealis on Mars which stunned scientists.
According to Mashable