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What is a full circle rainbow called?

Have you ever seen a full circle rainbow and wondered what it's called? Well, you're in luck because we're about to spill the beans on this fascinating natural phenomenon. Get ready to have your mind blown!

What Exactly is a Full Circle Rainbow?

Let's start with the basics. A full circle rainbow, also known as a "circumhorizontal arc" or a "fire rainbow," is a rare optical phenomenon that occurs when the sun is high in the sky (at least 58 degrees above the horizon) and its light passes through ice crystals in cirrus clouds. These ice crystals act as prisms, bending the sunlight and creating a stunning display of colors.

Why is it Called a Full Circle Rainbow?

Unlike a traditional rainbow that forms a semicircle, a full circle rainbow forms a complete circle around the observer. However, it's important to note that the bottom half of the circle is usually obscured by the ground, making it difficult to see the entire circle. But if you're lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a full circle rainbow from an elevated position, you're in for a real treat!

How Rare are Full Circle Rainbows?

Full circle rainbows are quite rare because several conditions need to be met for them to occur. First, the sun must be at a specific angle in the sky. Second, cirrus clouds with ice crystals must be present. And finally, the observer must be in the right position to see the entire circle. All of these factors coming together make full circle rainbows a truly magical sight.

Can You Capture a Full Circle Rainbow on Camera?

While it's challenging to capture the entire circle of a full circle rainbow in a single photograph, it is possible to capture segments of it. To do so, you'll need a wide-angle lens and a bit of luck. So, if you ever come across a full circle rainbow, don't forget to snap a picture and share it with your friends. They'll be amazed!


Now that you know what a full circle rainbow is, impress your friends with your newfound knowledge. Remember, full circle rainbows are a rare and awe-inspiring sight, so if you ever have the chance to see one, make sure to take a moment to appreciate the beauty of nature's colorful masterpiece.