“Fire Rainbow” seen in Fort Wayne

Fire Rainbow spotted in Fort Wayne

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)  Three viewers used Report!t to send NewsChannel 15 two pictures of what appears to be a very rare weather phenomena.

The Circumhorizon Arc (CHA), or “fire rainbow,” occurs under some of the same conditions as a sundog* but is much more rare.

NewsChannel 15 Meteorologist Nicholas Ferreri was quite happy to find the photos in his inbox today when he arrived for work.

Photo Gallery | “Fire Rainbow” seen in northeast Indiana

“What a neat sight!  A “Fire Rainbow” on the 4th of July,” he said.

Ferreri continued, “It actually took some time for us to determine that what we were seeing was the ‘Fire Rainbow’ phenomena because it is quite rare.  I shared the pics with our local National Weather Service office and we contemplated what it could be.

“At first, we thought it was what’s known as a ‘sun dog’, but it didn’t seem to match all the characteristics.  After some digging on both of our ends, one of my meteorologist colleagues, Sam Lashley, at the Northern Indiana National Weather Service Forecast Office was the one who  matched it with the characteristics of the rarely occurring ‘Fire Rainbow’.

“While the images sent by our viewers still could represent a portion of a ‘sundog’* , it’s the horizontal nature of the images, that helps us more closely identify the feature to that of a ‘Fire Rainbow’.”

According to Ferreri, “This is definitely not something that happens every day.”

The ‘Fire Rainbow’ that was spotted today occurred as a result of how sunlight passed through the clouds’ ice crystals.  The light entered through a vertical side of the crystal and then exited through a horizontal side.  It’s bent in the process and, as a result, shows the beautiful array of colors that the WANE viewers captured with their photos.

The perfect angular alignment of the sun’s light with the clouds and their ice crystals is rarely achieved and why you might never have heard of this phenomena before.

Thank you Jeff Mockler, Teresa Byanski and Molly for using Report!t to send in these pictures of such a unique event. Remember, if you see news happening, Report it!!

*Sundogs can appear as a complete halo around the sun and, a ccording to the American Meteorological Society , a sundog (also called parhelion) is:

“The lunar counterpart is a paraselene. The most common parhelia are seen about 22° on either side of the sun. That angular distance increases from 22° when the sun is on the horizon to over twice that when the sun climbs to 60°. The sun side of a parhelion is reddish. The parhelia of 22° can be explained by refraction in hexagonal crystals falling with principal axes vertical. The effective prism angle is 60° when the sun is on the horizon, but this increases as the sun climbs, resulting in greater displacement of the parhelion.

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