​Costa Rica Cloud Formation: Scientists Explain Rare Sighting As People Celebrate Rapture Sign

Author: Michael StevensBy:
Staff Reporter
Sep. 20, 2015

A Costa Rica cloud formation was labeled by some as a sign of the rapture, but experts said the phenomenon is known as “cloud iridescence.” The formation, which appeared in photos posted on social media, was reported Tuesday afternoon in the sky over Costa Rica, San Jose, Parrita, Pavas, Escazu and Hatillo, according to USA Today.

One woman who posted a photo of the mystery said it looked “like the end of times.” The Costa Rica residence said the “skies opened up as if it were the end of times — It was truly a beautiful glimpse of what our God has in store for us on the day he comes back.”

However, experts said the cloud has a less divine explanation — a rare phenomenon known as “cloud iridescence.” Eladio Solano, a meteorologist with Costa Rica’s National Meteorological Institute, said the colorful effect is caused by the sun’s light being refracted by water droplets and ice crystals in the cloud.

Costa Rica cloud formation becomes rare and colorful

The process led to the creation of a Costa Rica cloud formation dubbed a “fire rainbow” in the sky over South Carolina last month. Cloud iridescence can sometimes cause the frozen portion of the cloud to sink in the sky, creating a “fallstreak hole” such as the one photographed over Australia in November of last year.

Resident Joey Petit said that he and his family were at the playground in Escazu for an Independence Day festival when his 11-year-old son, Ariel Joseph Petit first noticed the Costa Rica cloud formation. “He immediately grabbed the camera and started taking video and photos,” he said. “We were just so amazed. We had no idea what it was and we’d never seen anything like it.”

Another Costa Rica resident, Jessie Montealegre, said she was also was amazed by the sky phenomenon. “It was breathtaking,” she said. “It’s like a sign of God.”

A similar formation over California in May 2014 was attributed to an airplane punching a hole in a cloud and leading to an iridescence effect.

Though users on social media have various theories on what caused the Costa Rica light formation, including aliens or UFOs, experts said the stunning view was caused by a “cloud iridescence.”

The phenomenon produced a similar sky spectacle in South Carolina last month that was dubbed a “fire rainbow,” and it looked exactly like the Costa Rica cloud formation.

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