The World's Rarest Horizontal Rainbow

Un grand horizontal: Rare FLAT rainbow photographed above the Paris skyline

Horizontal 'fire rainbows' rarely seen in northern Europe but common in U.S.
Appeared in Paris for just five minutes before disappearing again

A horizontal rainbow, known as a fire rainbow, is pictured above the Paris skyline by Parisian Bertrand Kulik
Horizontal rainbows, or circumhorizon arcs, occur when cirrus clouds are elevated enough to form plate-shaped ice crystals

The view of the Eiffel Tower against the Paris skyline is breathtaking on an ordinary day, but the French capital was recently bathed in a rare horizontal rainbow.

Across the city's horizon a clear spectrum of colours emerged for a short time, in a natural phenomenon known as a fire rainbow.

Parisian Bertrand Kulik, 33, spotted the unusual display out of the window of his apartment in France's capital on March 17.

Amateur photographer Mr Kulik said: ‘I have never seen a rainbow like that before. This light phenomenon looked like a rising aurora over Paris.

'When I saw it, I had to react very fast. I was very impressed by this beauty and I knew that I could not miss it.’

The display was only visible for a short time, but Mr Kulik quickly grabbed his camera and captured the rare sight.

He added: ‘It was only possible to see it for few minutes. Often I am waiting to catch some weather pictures. Every day I hope to see some atmospheric phenomenons like that.

‘The day was tormented with a stormy sky. Even in a big city it's possible to see some amazing natural phenomenon.

‘It was a very turbulent day and I will remember it for a long time.’

The horizontal rainbow was brought on by heavy rainstorms that lashed Paris last week.

Fire rainbows, known by the proper name of circumhorizon arc, occur when cirrus clouds are far enough up in the air to form plate-shaped ice crystals.

They are not actually rainbows, but a halo effect, although they are commonly referred to as fire rainbows.

When the sun is at the right angle it hits the top of these plates and splits into different colours that are viewable on the ground.

Although such fire rainbows are relatively common in the United States, they are a rarer sight in northern Europe where the sun less frequently has the required elevation needed for it to occur.

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