Saturday, Apr 16, 2005
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Welcome showers: A boy enjoying himself in the drizzle on Friday . Photo: Satish H.
HYDERABAD: The hot summer noon on Friday threw up a rare phenomenon that had many braving the sun to walk onto the streets and stare up into the sky. Rainbow, indeed, is common but this one was different. Instead of arching, it completed a circle.
The circular rainbow made a brief appearance around noon and dissolved after a few minutes leaving disappointed many more who rushed to the nearest window or onto the streets as word spread. "It was seen for about 10 minutes only," said Y.Ravi Kiron, Secretary of the Association of Amateur Astronomers, Hyderabad Chapter.
Rare celestial event
Circular rainbows are usually placed among the most spectacular celestial events that can be seen from the earth during day. In traditional rainbow, the centre of circular is in the direction opposite to that of sun and the full circle is not visible as the earth gets in the way.
The lower the sun is to the horizon, the bigger the rainbow happens to be. Similarly, the higher the sun is in the sky, the smaller the arch of the rainbow above the horizon is, explained Mr.Kiron.
"Around noon, the sun is totally overhead and the centre of the rainbow circle is opposite the sun. This helps us see the rainbow as a circle," he said. The phenomenon usually happens during spring days where it is still cold enough and there are high-altitude ice crystals through which the sun rays pass for a circular rainbow.
Incidentally, the rainbow's brief appearance was followed by the mercury going in for a dip and a blanket of clouds rolling out in the skies. Some parts of the city reported showers that came as a welcome reprieve from the heat.
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