Rare Rainbow Clouds Illuminate Arctic Skies: Stunning Photos

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Polar stratospheric clouds over Norway. (Ramunė Šapailaitė/Facebook)

Arctic watchers were treated to an extraordinary sight as uncommon rainbow-hued clouds adorned the skies in anticipation of the holiday season.

A frigid Arctic spell ushered in the rare spectacle of polar stratospheric clouds visible for a minimum of three days from December 18 to December 20, as reported on the website spaceweather.com.

Polar stratospheric cloud above Oslo, Norway

“The clouds were visible in the sky all day, but the colors exploded just before sunset,” said Norway-based photographer Ramune Sapailaite, per spaceweather.com.

Enthusiasts from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Alaska, and as far south as Scotland shared images with spaceweather.com, as reported by the news outlet Live Science.

Polar stratospheric clouds in Norway.

Also known as nacreous clouds, these formations only grace the sky during extremely cold weather. Comprising tiny ice crystals, they disperse sunlight, creating miniature rainbows in the sky.

Polar stratospheric clouds over Lofoten Islands, Norway.

These crystals are suspended at an exceptionally high altitude in the sky, ranging between 9.3 and 15.5 miles above the surface.

Surpassing the typical altitude for cloud formation, at extremely low temperatures, water vapor can condense, giving rise to these crystals, as reported by Live Science.

Polar stratospheric clouds in Norway.

These occurrences are typically observed only a few times each year, with January being the most common period.

Experiencing them for multiple consecutive days in December is an exceptionally rare delight, according to information from spaceweather.com.

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