Astronomy Picture of the Day
Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2011 August 24
A Pileus Iridescent Cloud Over Ethiopia
Image Credit & Copyright: Esther Havens (Light the World)Explanation: Yes, but how many dark clouds have a multicolored lining? Pictured, behind this darker cloud, is a pileus iridescent cloud, a group of water droplets that have a uniformly similar size and so together diffract different colors of sunlight by different amounts. The above image was taken just after the picturesque sight was noticed by chance by a photographer in Ethiopia. A more detailed picture of the same cloud shows not only many colors, but unusual dark and wavy bands whose origins are thought related to wave disturbances in the cloud.