Above Cloud Iridescence ~ Imaged by Michele Plews on the start of a descent into Port Elizabeth, South Africa. ©Michele Plews, shown with permission.

Iridescent colours in clouds are often seen from the ground. This above cloud sight is rarer.

Water droplets (or ice crystals) in a thin streak of stratus are diffracting light from the low sun to produce the colours.

When looking for sights like this take great care to distinguish these true sky colours from ones produced by the airplane window. If a camera polarizing filter is used, rotate it to see what happens!

Michele's return flight produced the bonus at right - a subsun. Millions of plate shaped ice crystals in the clouds act as a giant mirror to reflect the sun back upwards.

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