A gorgeous rare phenomenon colored the clouds of Costa Rica's sky into a rainbow hue earlier this week, prompting heated online debate between atheists and creationists as to the cause of the stunning sight.
A cartoon-like rainbow cloud appeared, and if it weren’t for YouTube videos that onlookers posted, one would think it was Photo-shopped, as the beauty of the phenomenon appears unrealistic. Scientists call the effect ‘cloud iridescence’ and it’s caused by diffraction when small water or ice particles individually scatter light. While these types of clouds are among the most beautiful that Mother Nature has to offer, they are not a sign of “The end of times.” They are neither a mystery nor that rare but do not let that spoil the fun.
This is a pileus cloud, sometimes called a “cap” cloud because of the way it caps the top of the cumulus cloud. They typically form during the early stages of thunderstorm development, when a strong updraft of rising air is present in cumulus clouds. The upward motion of the building cumulus cloud causes the whole layer of air above the storm to rise. The moisture in this thin layer cools and condenses into cloud droplets, which forms the wispy, flat cloud that caps the storm.
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