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Fire Rainbow in South Carolina Sky Delights Beachgoers

Image: Fire Rainbow in South Carolina Sky Delights Beachgoers
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By    |   Friday, 21 Aug 2015 11:00 AM

A rare fire rainbow appeared over the South Carolina sky on Sunday, delighting beachgoers and fans who shared pictures across the Internet.

Tracey Smith, who was visiting the Isle of Palms, captured a photo of the cloud-like rainbow, and told local news station WCSC-TV that it reminded her of a friend who'd passed away.

"I'm sure she came to visit us on the beach we all love! We miss you Leslie!" she said.

Other observers said the fire rainbow looked like angel wings, or even a whale's tail.

"I was walking from the ocean back to my beach chair," said Carole Williams of Charlotte, North Carolina. "My daughter's friend began pointing toward the sky saying, 'Look! Look!'"

The fire rainbow phenomenon, sometimes referred to as iridescent clouds or a circumhorizontal arc, stuck around for roughly five minutes, CBS News reported.

Meteorologist Justin Lock explained that fire rainbows are rare because the conditions that make them must be just right — and said they only transpire in icy, crystalline cirrus clouds high in the atmosphere.

"To produce the rainbow colors, the sun’s rays must enter the ice crystals at a precise angle to give the prism effect of the color spectrum," Lock said, explaining that the sun must soar at least 58 degrees above the horizon. "Again, it has to do with getting the precise angle."

Lock said further that the light refraction is similar to effects we see during sunsets, however the phenomenon is much more isolated when it comes to fire rainbows.

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A rare fire rainbow appeared over the South Carolina sky on Sunday, delighting beachgoers and fans who shared pictures across the Internet.
fire, rainbow, south carolina
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2015-00-21
Friday, 21 Aug 2015 11:00 AM
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