A Meteorological Phenomenon.

Scientific American 13, 22.9.1866

MESSRS. Editors: — A phenomenon was witnessed here yesterday, at about half past five P. M., which I deem worth reporting. A brisk shower was followed by a rainbow of most intense brilliancy, and characterized by other features of more than ordinary interest. Not only were both the arcs remarkably perfect and distinct, but the space between them exhibited a very decided shade of color, which, without assuming to speak with entire accuracy, I should say was between violet and purple; so that a portion of the mountains behind, when seen through the medium of this colored space, was considerably darker than the adjacent parts. There was also plainly visible a duplicate of the violet or innermost band of the lower arc, and separated from it by a dark lead-colored band, of about the Same width as the duplicate, and both of them very clearly defined. A third curious feature of this scene was the fact that the primary or lower arc was in many places crossed and obscured by what seemed to be clouds which had arranged themselves in the form of radii of the circle of which the arc was a part. Their form was not that of rays of the sun as seen through clouds at sunset, but rather that of the irregular streamers or patches of aurora borealis; except that they were of the color of the other clouds, and had not the motion of auroral flashes. Had these streaks occurred only at the crown of the are or vertical to the earth, it might be thought they were the ordinary appearance of rain falling from a distant cloud; but, in fact, they were much more plentiful at the ends of the arc than at top, and were unmistakably arranged with reference to the center of the circle. They also continued as long as the arc was visible.

Washingtonville, N. Y., Aug. 24, 1866.

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