Lenticularis clouds over Mount Rainier. © Ryan Verwest

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.

12 thoughts on “January 2012”

  1. Richard Jones avatar MR PLEASANT says:

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

  2. ciaron x says:

    this is so sad hahahahaha

  3. Jeanne Levoir avatar Jeanne Levoir says:

    Stunning, simply stunning.

  4. Mave Howarth says:

    this is just superb, thank you Ryan

  5. Jon Hearn avatar Jon Hearn says:

    What a magnificent picture!

  6. christine says:

    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.

  7. Helen says:


  8. Margi Rawlinson avatar Margi Rawlinson says:

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

  9. Junetta Gillespie avatar Junetta Gillespie says:

    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.

  10. Hanne Ingerslev avatar Hanne Ingerslev says:

    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!!!

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