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Rare Horizontal Rainbow Forms Over Paris, Goes Viral

Photographer: 'This light phenomenon looked like a rising aurora over Paris'
Related: Rainbows
March 27, 2013

Photo by Bertrand Kulik / Facebook

How does Paris' already stunning skyline become even more spectacular?

One way, it turns out, is with the addition of a rare, rainbow-like prism forming across the sky.

Bertrand Kulik spotted the usual sight from his apartment earlier this month and grabbed his camera.

"I have never seen a rainbow like that before," the 33-year-old Parisian told The Daily Mail. "This light phenomenon looked like a rising aurora over Paris."

It didn't last long, he said, but his photo, which he posted to Facebook on March 18, has captured peoples' imagination. The image has gone viral, appearing in newspapers and on websites around the world.

Many are calling it a rainbow, but technically, that's not the term for it.

RELATED ON SKYE: How Do Rainbows Form

"It's known as a circumhorizontal arc," said meteorologist and Ask SKYE columnist Renny Vandewege. "It's basically a halo that runs parallel to the horizon. It only forms when the sun is very high in the sky. It occurs when the sun hits ice crystals in the clouds."

Vandewege has spent more time than most studying the sky, but he'd never seen such a long circumhorizontal arc before, at least not in person.

"This one is rare because it's so long," he said. "Usually they're fairly small, like little fragments, broken up because of the clouds. The unique sun angle combined with the length of the cloud is what makes for such a long arc."

The prism includes the same colors as a rainbow, and it forms in a similar way, he says, requiring the refraction of light.

PHOTOS ON SKYE: 25 Stunning Rainbows Around the World
Rainbow

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edwlop5

Paris, so beautiful, so lovable, so magic. I love you Paris. I want you mine. I'll come to you again. May you exist forever.

March 28 2013 at 1:29 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
masonictempleinc@gmail.com

northern lights perhaps ? i heard they're showing up in new places this year.

March 27 2013 at 9:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hersho5

Check out the rainbow over Paris.

March 27 2013 at 9:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bill Herndon

So, Pat Robertson, I guess this means God wants SCOTUS to overturn Prop 8 and DOMA.

March 27 2013 at 6:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bill Herndon

Does this mean God wants the SCOTUS to overturn Prop 8 and DOMA?

March 27 2013 at 6:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sparkyisnumber1

Beautiful city with a beautiful view. Makes me want to go again soon.

March 27 2013 at 5:42 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
yajairav30

that is cool☺

March 27 2013 at 5:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
leemcgraw

Did you notice the faint second rainbow to the right of the prominent one? Wonderful picture!

March 27 2013 at 5:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nucleansolutions

Very cool

March 27 2013 at 4:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tinyah

A rainbow mocking an aurora beam!

March 27 2013 at 4:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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