After a Chinese Blogger shared a video of a plane appearing to be flying inside a rainbow which encircles it, netizens have been wondering whether what they saw was real or not. They even wonder what it actually was. As per reports, the footage was captured from a plane window by a passenger from the inside of a domestic flight Flight CZ3115, operated by China Southern Airlines, which was en route from Guangzhou to Beijing. As seen in the video, a small aircraft like object moves along with the colourful ring while staying inside it the whole time.
The footage could be traced to the Chinese social media platform Weibo. It was originally posted three years ago and has once again gone viral this month. While many found the sight pretty, many thought it was a UFO. Yet no one had a clue what it actually was. Many even claimed it was a sign of good luck. Take a look at the video.
It turns out that the whole thing is just an optical illusion. Meteorological engineer Bian Yun explained to the media explained that the 'plane' inside the rainbow is actually a reflection of the plane that the passenger was sitting inside. A ray of light shone through the plane which the passenger was on, and got reflected and bent by ice crystals, he said. The engineer added that this phenomenon is common and occurs when clouds are thick. As long as the angle of the light is right, the observer's position is ideal and the clouds are thick and smooth, they will be able to see the phenomenon, he quoted.
The phenomenon is also called 'Pilot's Glory' which was first observed by mountain climbers in the days before air travel became common. The first reported observation of Pilot's glory was back in the mid-1700s. Members of a French scientific expedition described seeing the sun emerge from behind a cloud and illuminate them, casting each man's shadow and surrounding their heads with what looked like halos. German physicist Gustav Mie came up with a mathematical formula to explain how water droplets suspended in air can scatter light. Glories are created by the backscattering, that is, the deflection at an angle of sunlight by tiny droplets of water in the atmosphere.