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January 2012

Lenticularis clouds over Mount Rainier. © Ryan Verwest
Ryan Verwest's image is January's Cloud of the Month

January 2012

January 2012 Cloud of the Month

Iridescent Lenticular clouds over Mount Rainier

This month’s image shows the beautiful effect that can result from the sunlight shining through thin parts of a cloud where the tiny droplets or ice crystals all have similar sizes. The sunlight can be ‘diffracted’ as it passes around the miniscule particles. The result is that it is split into different wavelengths, which appear as the colours of the rainbow. This optical effect is called iridescence or irisation and tends to appear at the fringes of clouds. This fantastic example, captured by Ryan Verwest, shows iridescence in lenticular clouds, and was spotted over Mount Rainier, Washington, US.
Photograph © Ryan Verwest.

  • Hanne Ingerslev avatar

    Hanne Ingerslev

    January 7, 2012 at 12:20 am

    Rarely have I seen anything as beautiful! The composition of the photo is perfect and the effects unique. What nature and man can do together!!!

  • dianne

    January 7, 2012 at 1:11 am


  • Junetta Gillespie avatar

    Junetta Gillespie

    January 9, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    I thought I saw a “Lenny” here, but I must have been a bit creative about the sighting. We are near the top of a glacial moraine, but as for mountains, alas ….. This beautiful picture has at least made me dust off the old camera. We have a clear view to the south of the sky, and often the clouds are beautiful. The sky is the greatest beauty of this part of Illinois.

  • Margi Rawlinson avatar

    Margi Rawlinson

    January 11, 2012 at 11:22 am

    This is just stunning. The iridescence of the cloud on the left is so magical. Thank you for sharing this. x

  • Helen

    January 12, 2012 at 5:27 pm


  • christine

    January 15, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Ol’ fat fingers here hit 4 stars instead of the intended 5! That said, excellent photo. #Hanne Ingerslev–I couldn’t agree more. What nature and man can do together!

    The iridescent cloud on the left inspires such whimsy and magic. So inspiring! Thank you, Ryan.

  • Cloud Dirt

    January 16, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    I Appreciate this.

  • Jon Hearn avatar

    Jon Hearn

    January 27, 2012 at 12:16 am

    What a magnificent picture!

  • Mave Howarth

    March 4, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    this is just superb, thank you Ryan

  • Jeanne Levoir avatar

    Jeanne Levoir

    February 2, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Stunning, simply stunning.

  • ciaron x

    July 4, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    this is so sad hahahahaha

  • Richard Jones avatar


    August 19, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Stunning photo ! the cloud in the foreground looks like an alien space-craft ???

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