Rainbows are so simple, and yet so magical. And so difficult to capture on paper, especially when they are flaming in the sky for 20 minutes! The science is apparently wrapped around words like parhelion, or sun dog, or irridescent cloud – I like my term better, a Flaming Rainbow.
Seeing it was also an interesting social/cultural experience – I was sitting at a sidewalk table on campus when it appeared. The folks who weren’t staring at their cell phones were staring at the sidewalk as they trudged past. Feeling a bit like the Village Idiot, I kept pointing at the sky and saying, “Look Up!” Almost to a person, they would look at me as if I had sprouted antlers, carefully and quickly look up like I might try to take their cell phone away, then gasp. Then take a picture of it with their cell phones, of course. But at least they got to see it, and most of them thanked me and were quite excited to have seen it. Apparitions like this are so magical, and just a little unsettling for those of us who thought there was nothing new under the sun!