Circumhorizontal arc over Northland, NZ
© Natalie Richards
MetService has lended its expertise to explain a beautiful rainbow-like phenomena seen over the town of Paparoa in Northland yesterday.

Natalie Richardson was passing through with her mum yesterday when they noticed the phenomena in the sky, saying it was slowing changing colour for about 15 minutes.

"Thought the country should know because it's amazing! Never seen it before!" she said.

MetService meteorologist Tui McInnes said the rainbow was in fact a phenomena called a Circumhorizontal Arc.

"Basically what happens is sunlight enters the cloud and ice crystals in the cloud refract the light and form a rainbow," she said.
Circumhorizontal arc over NZ
© Natalie Richards

"It isn't a necessarily rare phenomenon, however the person observing it has to be standing in the right place at the right time.

"The sun needs to be behind them in order to see the refracted light, and of course you have to have colder clouds that contain ice crystals mixed in with some sunny spells!"