Strange Upside Down Rainbow Spotted In Canada This Weekend (Photos)

It happens more than you think.
Strange Upside Down Rainbow Spotted In Canada This Weekend (Photos)

A totally rare weather phenomenon was spotted in Ontario this weekend and apparently, Canada's northern climate is to thank.

Technically called a circumzenithal arc, this "upside down rainbow" had many people snapping pics in wonder.

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TL;DR Many people saw the marvellous sight of an upside-down rainbow this weekend in Ontario. 

A meteorologist for Environment Canada, Marie-Eve Giguere, spoke with the CBC about the phenomenon. 

She explained that circumzenithal arcs are caused by ice crystals in the air. The ice crystals act as a prism, refracting the light and creating what looks like a rainbow, but upside down.

It appears upside down due to its proximity to the sun, wherein the arc happens around the sun as opposed to away from the sun like a regular rainbow.

Upside-down rainbows spotted in Windsor sky | CBC News

January 7, 2019

Other climate conditions required for this beautiful phenomenon: cold and calm. We've obviously got the cold under control up here in Canada, but the other conditions were pure luck.

You can expect to see an upside down rainbow when there are few to no clouds, as well as little to no wind. Apparently this weekend delivered just that, allowing many Canadians to snap their new Facebook cover photo.

Another phenomenon called "sundogs" was also spotted this weekend by many Canadians.

Sundogs create the impression that there are multiple suns in the sky, hovering close to the real sun. 

this upside down rainbow i saw will forever blow my mind

— Abigail Dunn (@abigailJdunn) January 6, 2019

Sundogs, technically called "parhelia" (or a single "pahelion") are also a result of light refracting on ice crystals in the atmosphere.

They are considered a halo and usually come in twos, flanking the sun on either side.

@michael_david200embedded via  

In both instances, light is dispersed through the ice crystals. 

It's exactly like the cover of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon — the ice crystals are the triangle and what we're seeing is the dispersion of light through the other side.

Let's take this as an omen of good things to come in 2019.


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