Incredible ‘Horizontal Rainbow’ Captured In Photo Of Perfect Moment

by : Cameron Frew on : 28 Mar 2020 15:46
Incredible 'Horizontal Rainbow' Captured In Photo Of Perfect Moment by Cessna KutzCessna Kutz/Facebook

Nature has cunning ways of inspiring awe – atop Lake Sammamish in Washington State, USA, a photographer managed to capture a ‘horizontal rainbow’. 

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we should all be living a peaceful existence from our homes. Amid the stir-craziness that may induce, take some time to appreciate nature, even if its from your phone or computer screen.


Cessna Kutz, an amateur photographer from Issaquah, shared the incredible images on Facebook seemingly showing a rainbow covering the near-entirety of the lake.

Horizontal Rainbow Cessna Kutz 2Cessna Kutz/Facebook

Cessna, from Issaquah, Washington, wrote: ‘Witnessed a pretty cool phenomenon out on Lake Sammamish today. A horizontal rainbow! Also known as a circumhorizontal arc. It almost doesn’t look real and I honestly barely edited these photos.’

It’s a mesmerising sight – but how is it possible? Courtney Obergfell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle, explained to IFL Science that it’s not a rainbow at all, despite its similar appearance. ‘It’s an optical phenomenon that is essentially an ice halo formed by the refraction of the Sun in ice crystals in the atmosphere,’ she said.


Circumhorizontal arcs are also commonly known as ‘fire rainbows’, only occurring when the Sun is higher than 58 degrees above the horizon – they’re far less common in Europe compared to the US, due to a lower-hanging Sun.

Witnessed a pretty cool phenomenon out on lake sammamish today. A horizontal rainbow! Also known as a circumhorizonal…

Posted by Cessna Kutz on Monday, March 23, 2020

Cessna’s post, which has attracted more than 3,000 shares on a Washington Hikers and Climbers Facebook group, has clearly dropped a few jaws. ‘To me this was a little reminder to hold onto hope and love instead of fear and panic in these unknown times. Stay safe out there, friends,’ she added.

Add seeing a horizontal rainbow to your post-outbreak to-do list. In the meantime, you can check out the rest of Cessna’s photos here.


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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Life, Nature, Photography, washington


IFL Science and 2 others
  1. IFL Science

    Everyone Please Look At This Photo Of A “Horizontal Rainbow” Because We All Need A Smile

  2. Cessna Kutz/Facebook


  3. CC Photography