Hovering in the sky, a rainbow cloud over Mount Everest took an astonished astronomer by surprise. Oleg Bartunov, a fellow at the Sternberg Astronomical Institute in Moscow, caught the spectacle on camera during a Himalayas expedition in Nepal. His two images show almost the whole spectrum of the rainbow in a natural event rarely recorded at Mount Everest.
The phenomenon is caused by light reflecting off tiny ice crystals inside the body of the cloud’s water vapor. “I only took a couple of shots as I was overwhelmed with feelings and wanted to see everything with my eyes and prolong the moment,” Mr. Bartunov said.
When he witnessed the event he could hardly believe his eyes, so he asked others nearby to confirm that it really was a rainbow cloud. “There was a group of elderly English women there. I told them to look at the clouds and they started to moan and sigh and started to photograph the clouds with their small photo cameras. Later I asked many local people who were there if they saw these clouds,” he added. “Not many had seen them before either, so it must be a very rare event. If this was the 60s I could have sworn it was some kind of album by The Beatles.”