Coventry & Warwickshire

'Smile in the sky' rainbow spotted in Warwickshire

Circumzenithal Arc (upside down rainbow) Image copyright Ken Butler
Image caption Unlike normal rainbows, the colours are in reverse order with violet on the top and red at the bottom

A rare upside down rainbow has been seen in the sky over Warwickshire.

Called a circumzenithal arc, or a "smile in the sky", a Met Office spokesman said they occur when thin wispy cirrus clouds - made of ice crystals - are at a specific angle to the sun.

Although they form fairly frequently, they are usually obscured by layers of clouds beneath, and rarely visible.

Ken Butler, who took the photo over Warwick described it as "remarkable".

"This was particularly clear, we were very fortunate to see it. There were two columns of clouds and the arc was between them," said Mr Butler, who was at Warwick Boat Club when he took the picture on Tuesday.

"I hurried off to get my phone and managed to get a photo, it was really interesting, the colours in an ordinary rainbow go one way and the ones in the arc go the opposite way.

"They are a mirror image of each other".

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