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Brits stunned as 'rainbow clouds' appear in sky looking like 'portals to another dimension'

Brits stunned as 'rainbow clouds' appear in sky looking like 'portals to another dimension'

The rare phenomenon was seen across the UK

A rare iridescent cloud has been spotted in the sky across the UK, with one person saying it resembled a ‘portal to the next dimension’.

The rainbow-coloured cloud is rarely seen in the UK as it needs very specific weather conditions to appear.

According to the BBC, the clouds - called Nacreous clouds - are one of the highest in Earth's atmosphere and are often given the name ‘mother of pearl’ due to their unusual colouring.

Over on the BBC Weather Watcher page people shared snaps of the cloud, with one person saying: “Spotted this cloud iridescence from our garden in Edinburgh late afternoon. We'd never seen anything like it before.”

Another said: "A portal to the next dimension.”

While a third commented: "Brief, eerie and bright cloud illumination at sunset this evening. Unsure exactly what. No filter, no spaceship."

Others took to social media to question the cloud, with one person posting in the Scotland subreddit to ask: “Saw this in St Andrews yesterday... any idea what this is?”

The clouds were seen above the UK.

In a post on X, BBC weather forecaster Tomasz Schafernaker said: “Great shots of recent #NacreousClouds. They can be extremely high – three times higher than an airplane at cruising altitude. Nacreous clouds are in indicator of especially cold air high in the atmosphere.”

For a Nacreous cloud to be seen, there needs to be very cold conditions over the polar regions and within the stratosphere.

The BBC explains: “Occasionally cold polar air, locked in place by strong winds high up in the atmosphere - called the polar vortex - weakens and allows this colder air to sink south to our latitude.

“Formed in air that is around -80C, tiny ice crystals refract sunlight, giving the cloud pearly colours.”

They’re usually seen a couple of hours before sunrise or sunset.

The clouds were seen in various parts of the UK this week, including Edinburgh, Fife, Staffordshire, Merseyside, Lincolnshire and Cheshire.

The clouds need a specific set of conditions to appear.

Met Office spokesperson Stephen Dixon said: “Nacreous clouds are quite rare in the UK and are very high clouds. They can make good spectacles for viewers as they reflect coloured light from the sun, often after sunset and before sunrise.

”These clouds form over the polar regions and are made of smaller ice particles than those that form more common clouds.

"These small particles help to scatter light in a different way, which gives them their unique appearance.”

Although rare, the clouds have been spotted over the UK in recent times including February this year.

Featured Image Credit: Reddit/Juinhao Jane Roots/BBC

Topics: UK News, Weather