'Rainbow' without rain! (Photos)

By Chief Meteorologist Howard Manges

Credit: Keith Sturek

'Rainbow' without rain! (Photos)

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3 photos

May 17, 2013 Updated Nov 19, 2013 at 12:50 PM EST

These pictures were taken in Harpursville on the afternoon of May 17.

What you are seeing in this album is called a circumhorizontal arc. It is caused when thin, flat ice crystals inside cirrus clouds are struck by the sun's light. The sunlight enters the ice crystal and is refracted out another side of the ice crystal down to our eyes.

These are not rare and usually only occur during summer time afternoons and in latitudes south of 55°N.