A rare phenomenon observed in the skies over Costa Rica caused heated online debate between atheists and creationists.
Residents of Costa Rica captured the stunning multi-colored cloud on video, and many believe that the sight heralds the End of Times. While religious social media users put forward their point of view, scientists explained that the phenomenon is in fact known as cloud iridescence.
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The phenomenon was spotted last Tuesday afternoon in the skies over a number of cities in Costa Rica including San Jose, Parrita, Pavas, Escazu and Hatillo, providing a nice touch for the country’s Independence Day celebrations.
The multi-colored cloud was captured in a video posted to YouTube by Jessie Montealegre, where the sky can be seen opening with rainbow colors. The colors are so vivid that they appear unrealistic.
“Suddenly a massive amount of people stopped and stood still as they were astonished at how the skies opened up,” Jessie said.”It was a nice coincidence that the video was taken on Costa Rica‘s Independence Day.”
Despite some social media users invoking religious imagery, the phenomenon can also be explained by diffraction which occurs when small particles of water of ice individually scatter light.
That did not stop Montealegre describing the video in religious terms. “It’s like a sign of God,” she commented on the video she took. “It’s like the Lord is going to come through this cloud any moment.”
Religious debate becomes heated in comments section
Instead of enjoying the beautiful phenomenon of the multi-colored cloud, users in the comments section quickly started to debate the existence of God.
“The pseudoscience of evolution was invented and currently espoused by people of zero character who do not want to feel guilty for the immorality in their lives. What exactly are your vices?” asks John Smith of user Paul Donohue, who wrote: “not sure whose [sic] more annoying or stupid the idiots claiming the sun against some clouds is God or the idiots claiming its [sic]climate engineering.”
A YouTube user known as Exham certainly comes in on the side of the atheists, claiming: “I have faith that it’s sunlight refracted through ice crystals in the upper atmosphere… because that’s what it is. No invisible Sky Daddy required.”
Whatever your opinion on the cause of the incredible multi-colored cloud, it can’t be denied that it is a beautiful sight. This is not the first time that rainbow clouds have been observed, but it is certainly the cause of great surprise.
How can you spot a multi-colored cloud?
The phenomenon is in fact not that rare. The multi-colored cloud is a pileus, or “cap,” cloud, and takes its name from the way it sits on top of the cumulus cloud below. Your best chance of spotting one is during the early stages of a thunder storm, when strong updrafts rise in cumulus clouds and cause the layer of air above the storm to rise.
As a result the moisture contained in that layer cools and condenses, forming cloud droplets that cap the storm. Not every cap cloud becomes a multi-colored cloud, and the presence of sunlight is required to reflect and refract into distinguishable colors.
The cap clouds do not usually last very long, and you will have to be lucky to catch the moment that the sun is behind the cloud, allowing light to pass through the water droplets.