The Fire Rainbow
May 19, 2012 2:18 AM   Subscribe

If you are very lucky you may see a fire rainbow once or twice in your life.
posted by Wolfdog (39 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
I see these all the time; though it probably helps to live on an island in the middle of the pacific.
posted by AndrewKemendo at 2:22 AM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Growing up in eastern Washington these seemed almost more common than actual rainbows.
posted by the_artificer at 2:31 AM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's beautiful.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:31 AM on May 19, 2012


I guess I am very, very lucky. I see one or two every year, just driving home from work. Maybe there are some places where these are rare, because of the weather patterns. .
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:37 AM on May 19, 2012


I see these at least a couple times a year as well - I didn't realize they had a name. They are very lovely.

Maybe I just look at the sky a lot. Cool stuff happens up there.
posted by louche mustachio at 2:59 AM on May 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


That's incredible; I've never heard of this. Extraordinarily beautiful.
posted by Alonzo T. Calm at 3:04 AM on May 19, 2012


Weird, I see these all the time and they are indeed very beautiful. I had no idea they were "rare." Maybe the fairies like me.
posted by lydhre at 3:37 AM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have seen 1. Also 1. perfect Sun Dog.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 3:58 AM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I too see these things all the time. Definitely more frequently than traditional rainbows.
posted by valkyryn at 4:29 AM on May 19, 2012


I've never seen one of those before! How lovely!
posted by Defying Gravity at 5:00 AM on May 19, 2012


anybody ever seen a double fire rainbow? That would be an awesome youtube video!
posted by srboisvert at 5:10 AM on May 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


srboisvert It's so beautiful!!!
posted by Literaryhero at 6:10 AM on May 19, 2012


Wow. That's beautiful.

I needed this. Thank you.
posted by gauche at 6:39 AM on May 19, 2012


Image from Flickr user Chris Pirillo? He's still kicking about? Was just inspired to check Lockergnome, it seems to be a group contribution thing now.
posted by JHarris at 6:44 AM on May 19, 2012


Also known as cloud iridescence.
posted by the Real Dan at 7:35 AM on May 19, 2012


Chris Pirillo is still around and being tech geek. He does a podcast I believe and a lot of writing and product reviews.

I live in the midwest and I had never seen a fire rainbow. I'm 41. I look at the sky a lot.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:59 AM on May 19, 2012


So many of us live between our ears. Just look up when you can. These fire rainbows are common enough that you will see them more than once or twice in a lifetime. Just look up. I find if I ask only 3% of people know what the phase of the moon is on any given day. We live our lives inside our head not seeing what is there.
posted by pdxpogo at 8:02 AM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


i've seen them quite a few times, too, in michigan - they're not common, but they're not as rare as this guy thinks
posted by pyramid termite at 8:18 AM on May 19, 2012


I live in the midwest and I had never seen a fire rainbow. I'm 41. I look at the sky a lot.

Apparently you're not looking up enough. I bet you don't even know what the current moon phase is!
posted by Defying Gravity at 8:38 AM on May 19, 2012


The Moon is Waning Crescent (18% of Full)
posted by Wolfdog at 8:45 AM on May 19, 2012


It's cheating if you use the internet, Wolfdog.
posted by Scientist at 9:03 AM on May 19, 2012


I didn't! I have pom installed everywhere.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:06 AM on May 19, 2012


I'm not so sure some of us haven't seen these just because we are staring at our shoes too much. Between prolonged bouts of navelgazing, I actually spend quite a bit of time skygazing and all I ever see are contrails and telephone wires.
Seems like maybe its more common in certain regions.
posted by Alonzo T. Calm at 9:07 AM on May 19, 2012


I don't remember ever seeing one of these. All we ever get here in the mid-Atlantic is cumulus. Did see a nice, mammatus-like thing that looked like a giant hand reaching down from heaven once. Bathed in orange sunset light, it looked quite dramatic.
posted by Nomyte at 9:16 AM on May 19, 2012


Because of the necessary height of the sun you will not see a fire rainbow north of fifty five degrees – and likewise further south of the magic fifty five degrees.

Oh c'mon, more than 95% of the world's population lives in this "magic" band.

CHAs are common in the USA.
posted by nixt at 9:29 AM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have seen lots of "normal" rainbows, but never one of these. I spend most of my time in central california. Maybe they are locally common in certain places?
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:30 AM on May 19, 2012


I've never heard these being called fire rainbows. I think I see them mostly on clear winter days in the midwestern US. They're usually pretty subtle, and you wouldn't notice one unless you look closely.
posted by Hither at 10:11 AM on May 19, 2012


Huh, so that's what that thing was. I liked it.
posted by palbo at 10:40 AM on May 19, 2012


I saw one, once- one lone, shining rainbow cloud. Too small to photograph, though I think I might have tried. Very pretty, and it's nice to see shots of what they can look like when they're a bit bigger!
posted by BungaDunga at 10:59 AM on May 19, 2012


Going to keep my eyes peeled and my camera with me.
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 10:59 AM on May 19, 2012


But, what does it mean?
posted by clvrmnky at 4:46 PM on May 19, 2012


I posted a link to this site on Facebook today (Metafilter makes me seem very smart and with-it!), and a friend saw one today for the first time! Very cool.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:40 PM on May 19, 2012


I've seen a couple, but curiously, both times they were contrails from rockets launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, quite a ways north of me. At sunset, there were these crazy squiggly vapor trails heading way up in the sky, like God had a silly straw and was drinking the ocean, and it was all rainbow.
posted by LionIndex at 7:55 PM on May 19, 2012


I have also seen a fair number of these and had no idea they had a name. Just called them "clouds like a rainbow" or something like that.
posted by Miko at 8:35 PM on May 19, 2012


I see them fairly frequently here in Idaho. The seem to be much more common--sun dogs seem to be more common, too.

I'm still waiting to see a green flash. Just once in my lifetime--please!
posted by BlueHorse at 8:49 PM on May 19, 2012


I used to see these all the time in Ireland, more commonly than regular rainbows. I'm in California now and haven't laid eyes on one in all the years I've been here. It's gotta be closely aligned with local weather patterns.
posted by DSime at 10:44 PM on May 19, 2012


I saw one last week, but thought it was a sundog. This appears to be a sort of a subset of the sundog family. So that's one sundog in my lifetime and one fire rainbow!
posted by waldo at 5:48 PM on May 20, 2012


If you wear polarizing sunglasses, you see stuff like this all the time. It's kind of boss.
posted by Eideteker at 6:37 AM on May 22, 2012


way to bring back the word "boss," Eideteker. I'll join you in that project. I remember when I was about 9 I found a stash of old Archie comics in which the gang kept saying things were "boss" and "gear," which fascinated me as they had completely disappeared from the lexicon - unlike "groovy" or "keen" or "swell" which still had at least an ironic usage.
posted by Miko at 7:30 AM on May 22, 2012


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