In these times of uncertainty, beautiful moments are more appreciated than ever. Photographer Cessena Kutz has perfectly captured this “horizontal rainbow” over Lake Sammamish in Washington State. Beautiful moments in nature as such can remind us to take a step back and appreciate the small things during this crisis period.
Kutz says he has photographed the lake before, but has never seen a rainbow as such. The image shows the rainbow and was taken around 2pm, and this view lasted for just five minutes. Reflecting upon seeing such a beautiful act of nature during such trying times, Kutz shared, “It almost didn’t look real and honestly these photos are barely edited. To me, it was a little reminder to hold onto hope and love instead of fear and panic in these unknown times. Stay safe out there, friends”.
IFL science spoke to Courtney Obergell, a meteorologist who categorizes this rainbow as a circumhorizontal arc. She explains, “It is an optical phenomenon that is essentially an ice halo formed by the refraction of the Sun in ice crystals in the atmosphere.
In its full form, it can appear as a rainbow-esque band that’s horizontal to the horizon, below the Sun”. These circumhorizontal arcs are also often referred to as “fire rainbows” since “This phenomenon occurs only when the Sun is higher than 58 degrees above the horizon.
A large, colored band that runs parallel to the horizon is formed as the Sun’s light passes through high-altitude cirrus clouds or haze containing plate-shaped ice. When perfectly aligned, the ice crystals act as a prism and refract light in a way that resembles a rainbow, reaching its maximum intensity when the Sun reaches an elevation of about 68 degrees”.
Kutz says that this rainbow has reminded him to slow down during these chaotic times and take a moment to recognize and appreciate the beauty of our world.
He writes, “Spreading hope and positivity will do more good than being fearful. Witnessing such a phenomenon during a time like this was a beautiful reminder of just that,Nature has a pretty incredible way of speaking to us if we choose to listen.”