The 7 strangest weather phenomena in the world & where to see them


Also known as lunar rainbows, moonbows are the work of moonlight rather than sunlight. Only visible at night, a moonbow is quite rare and a lot fainter and smaller than its day-time alternative. Although it has been caught on camera at several locations around the world, particularly near waterfalls in Yosemite National Park, Plitvice Lakes in Croatia and Victoria Falls in Africa, the perfect conditions to see a moonbow are more important than the location: It has to be during a full moon around two to three hours after sunset or before sunrise.


Suspended high in the troposphere, cirrostratus clouds, or halos, are made from ice crystals that reflect sunlight – creating an illusion of a ring around the sun – and can be seen anywhere in the world. Since these high clouds usually appear before unsettled weather, folklore says that a halo warns of a coming rain or snow storm.


This beautiful phenomenon that usually appears as a pinkish belt above a blue tinted horizon is actually the Earth’s shadow. Only visible at sunset or sunrise, the pink glow above the dark band of our planet's shadow is caused by the backscatter of red light from the rising or setting sun. You have the best chance of seeing it if you either head up to higher ground, for example, a forest viewing platform or a skyscraper, or if there’s nothing in your way to obscure the view of the horizon, like west or east facing beach or a field.


Also known as blood moon, different shades of orange and red can be seen on the moon during a lunar eclipse. Although surrounded by many superstitions and prophecies, this red hue is actually due to red edge of the Earth's shadow reflecting on the moon – as sunlight passes through Earth’s atmosphere, all the other colors of the spectrum are removed. The next blood moon will appear during the lunar eclipse on Jan. 31, 2018 and will be visible almost everywhere in the world, apart from south and west Europe, south and west Africa and southern and eastern areas of South America.


The appearance of these most unusual and distinctive clouds can vary from the classic protruding shape to a more elongated tube hanging off the cloud above. Normally associated with thunderstorms, these peculiar shapes are formed due to turbulence within the storm cloud, creating an uneven cloud base and can appear anywhere in the world.


As a mixture of different gas molecules enter the Earth’s atmosphere, they collide with solar winds, creating tinted lights known as auroras. The lesser-known counterpart to the aurora borealis (northern lights) is the southern lights, or aurora australis, which can be best observed at the southern tip of New Zealand, the Falkland Islands and at the world’s southernmost city Ushuaia in Argentina.


Regularly confused with UFOs, these lens-shaped clouds, that appear singular or stacked like pancakes, are very different from any other type of cloud because they don’t move and can appear anywhere in the world. Commonly found in mountainous regions, lenticular clouds are avoided by airplane pilots due to the heavy turbulence they can cause.

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