In conjunction with our ‘Nature’ theme this month and in celebration of Pride month, we’ve put together a list of must-see rainbow and multi-colour natural phenomena to see before you die. Some people travel across the world to participate in Pride parades this month, others might want to travel to chase natural wonders! After all, it is the most colourful time of the year! Read on for some of the most incredible rainbows and the best natural phenomena in the world!
The aurora borealis is one of the most well-known and mystifying natural phenomena out there. They occur in the Northern Hemisphere when the sun’s electrically-charged particles enter Earth’s atmosphere and collide with oxygen and nitrogen gases. The result is stunning wisps of multi-coloured light. The northern lights are on most people’s natural phenomena bucket list for a good reason! Head north to see why.
Rainbow Mountains in China
The breathtaking mountains of the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park in China (aka rainbow mountains) are made of layers of different coloured sandstone and minerals. The layers and stripes of colours on the mountain range look like something straight out of a Dr Seuss book! This geological wonder is a spectacular must-see for anyone chasing rainbows!
Bioluminescence (all over the world)
While bioluminescence isn’t quite rainbow-coloured, it certainly qualifies as a dazzling and colourful natural phenomenon. Whether it’s jellyfish, fireflies, glow worms, fungi, or microorganisms, prepare to be enchanted by the sparkling lights. As one of the most spell-binding natural phenomena, bioluminescence is certainly a bucket-list-worthy must-see.
Rainbow eucalyptus, or rainbow gum, is likely the most colourful tree in the world! As its bark ages, it changes colours, and since the bark peels at a different rate than it ages, the trees become streaked with different colours. The bark starts as green, then changes to purple, and finally red. You can find these rainbow trees in the Philippines and Indonesia (and probably in a Dr. Seuss book). Fun fact: rainbow gum is commonly used for wood pulp and is turned into white paper. You’ll have to see these colourful trees for yourself to believe it!
Fire rainbows only happen at specific times and places; neither fire nor rainbow, but ice halos formed by ice crystals in cirrus clouds. You can only see them in locations north of 55°N or south of 55°S and only when the sun is at an elevation of 58° or higher. When the sunlight hits the clouds at this specific angle the light gets split into different colours through the ice, creating a flame-like rainbow in the clouds. Fire rainbows are truly one of the most unique and wondrous rainbows (that aren’t really rainbows) out there!
Like the northern lights and fire rainbows, light pillars can usually be spotted in polar regions with cold temperatures. Light pillars look like colourful, vertical beams of light shining towards the sky. They occur when light (artificial or natural) bounces off flat ice crystals close to the ground. Aside from the somewhat creepy/UFO-beam-me-up-Scotty appearance, light pillars are marvellous to behold.
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