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Fire Rainbow | by Rudy Malmquist
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Fire Rainbow

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) -- A rare sight was seen in the sky above West Michgian Tuesday afternoon.


It is called a fire rainbow or circumhorizontal arc and occurs only when the sun is more than 58 degrees above the horizon.


The sun shines through cirrus clouds that are made of plate-like ice crystals. The light is refracted or bent as it passes through the crystals. Each color of the solar spectrum bends at a slightly different angle, so it makes what looks like a rainbow.


A true rainbow would only be visible with your back toward the sun, and usually when the sun is lower on the horizon.

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Taken on May 13, 2008