Photos: The beautiful fire rainbow that lit up New Jersey this week

fire-rainbow-spring-lake-monmouth-county-new-jerseyCourtesy of Toni Hoffman

On Tuesday, New Jersey residents were treated to a natural wonder: the rarity known as a “fire rainbow.” As Edison’s Trisha Garlatti, who spotted this beautiful phenomenon in South River, described it, “It was like a rainbow inside a cloud.”

fire-rainbow-south-river-middlesex-county-new-jerseyCourtesy of Trisha Garlatti

The scientific name for the fire rainbow is a circumhorizontal arc, but as Sarah Johnson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s regional office in Mount Holly, explained to, weather experts refer to it as a “cloud iridescence.”

fire-rainbow-avon-by-the-sea-monmouth-county-new-jerseyCourtesy of Cindy Capodice

Tuesday’s weather allowed for the perfect storm of circumstances to create this special sighting. As Johnson described it, “It’s basically the same principle behind what we normally see in rainbows. But instead of dealing with rain droplets with regular rainbows, we’re dealing with ice crystals, because these clouds are so high” and the temperatures are very cold up there.”

fire-rainbow-morrisville-pennsylvaniaCourtesy of Rosie Murray