I took a photo of an amazing sight I had never seen outside my home ( southern india ) but I could not tell if it was a rainbow type thing or an aurora borealis. Also if it was to be a sun dog , shouldn’t it have some curvature and symmetry .Can someone tell what this is and it’s reason of occurrence 😀😀enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ time of day and direction and angle this picture is taken from will be helpful.a couple of things can create this effect like pollen or water/ice crystalls high in the atmosphere.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_iridescence $\endgroup$ May 28 '20 at 5:19
  • $\begingroup$ Nice picture! If you don't have any luck here, Les Crowley, the maintainer of the highly regarded Atmospheric Optics website apparently is once again accepting contributions. I have no affiliation with Les Crowley or his website. $\endgroup$ May 28 '20 at 7:37
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    $\begingroup$ Certainly not aurora borealis, as this is only visible in the dark of night, and (virtually) never visible from India. $\endgroup$
    – gerrit
    May 28 '20 at 7:50
  • $\begingroup$ The Sun is obviously below and to the left of the strangely lit cloud, so this is either shortly after sunrise or shortly before sunset. ("Shortly": maybe half an hour?) I'm guessing shortly before sunset based on the nature of the clouds, but that's just a guess. $\endgroup$ May 28 '20 at 13:48

Sun dogs are bright spots to one or both sides of the sun. They are a form of halo created by ice crystals in the atmosphere.

What you saw was most likely cloud iridescence, which is a phenomenon that occurs closed to either the moon of the sun. The iridescence is caused by diffraction created by water droplets or small ice crystals individually scattering light. Large crystals produce a halo, not iridescence.

  • $\begingroup$ It's certainly not a sun dog, which appear 22° away from the Sun but at the same elevation as the Sun. The crepuscular rays indicate that the Sun is below and to the left of the strangely lit cloud.And I don't think it's cloud iridescence, either, as the picture was taken from southern India. $\endgroup$ May 28 '20 at 13:51
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, cloud iridescence, which is actually quite common. The only unusual part here is that the dark cloud blocks the direct sun, allowing it to be easily visible - and photographable! You usually need to be wearing sunglasses to see it (at least in my experience), since the light from the center of the cloud is so intense that it washes out the colors around the edges. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    May 28 '20 at 16:41

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