Cessna Kutz captured the image above Lake Sammamish in Washington and it soon went viral.
At first glance, the image seems to be edited to give it the colors of the rainbow, but that isn't the case. A photographer named Cessna Kutz managed to capture an incredible image of a phenomenon known as a 'fire rainbow' Kutz shared the photo taken on Lake Sammamish in Washington last month on her Instagram and was soon flooded with responses. She said these photos provided her a sense of 'peace,' especially during these crazy times. Witnessed a pretty cool phenomenon out on lake Sammamish today. A horizontal rainbow! 🌈 To me, it was a little reminder to hold onto hope and love instead of fear and panic in these unknown times. Stay safe out there, friends💞 #rainbowsofhope #flattenthecurve, Kutz wrote.
So, what exactly is a fire rainbow? You'd be surprised to know that this has nothing to do with fire, nor does it have anything to do with rainbows. Technically, it is known as circumhorizontal arcs, an optical phenomenon that occurs when the sun is higher than 58° in the sky. Meteorologist Courtney Obergfell believes this to be a sideways rainbow. "It is an optical phenomenon that is essentially an ice halo formed by the refraction of the Sun in ice crystals in the atmosphere. In its full form, it can appear as a rainbow-esque band that's horizontal to the horizon, below the Sun," she said, according to IFL Science.
"For those living at mid-latitudes, the best chance to see this phenomenon is in the middle of summer." IFL Science also added, "The rarity of the event is highly dependent upon latitude and weather conditions. The potential for these arcs to form in Los Angeles is 5-10 times higher than in London. Aside from the position of the sun, the other ingredient for forming circumhorizontal arcs is cirrus clouds. Cirrus clouds are the thin, wispy clouds that occur at higher altitudes. Because the temperature is so low where these clouds exist, they are made of ice crystals. After the sun is higher than 58°, the light refracts through the plate-like crystals, which act like prisms and create the rainbow."
Speaking about her photograph, Kutz told My Modern Met, "I just felt blessed to be able to witness such an incredible moment. It brought me peace and hope and made me feel less anxious about our current circumstances." She added, “I honestly had no idea these photos would make the news. I was just wanting to share a beautiful moment I got to witness.” Talking about her profession, Kutz said, “I’m super passionate about photography so I’m grateful that God has used my photos to touch people, not only throughout the nation but throughout the world. It’s boosted my photography business as well as make an impact on people so it feels pretty amazing.”