One El Pasoan captured a most surreal photo of a plane flying high near a fire rainbow that cast a pillar of light across the sky.

Sam Cassiano

The recent rainstorms have created some exciting optics over the last few weeks, including this beautiful fire rainbow hiding between the clouds over UTEP earlier this week.

The breathtaking photo, which almost looks as if the image was photographed from above, looking down into a sea of blue, shows a rare cloud phenomenon called a fire or cloud rainbow distinguished by its colorful flame-like appearance. 

The best chance to see this rare optical phenomenon is usually in the middle of summer, depending on the sun's position and weather conditions.

Technically, fire or cloud rainbows are known as a circumhorizontal arc - an ice halo formed by hexagonal, plate-shaped ice crystals in high-level cirrus clouds. The halo is so large that the "circumhorizontal" arc appears parallel to the horizon, hence the name.

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From glorious sunsets to colorful rainbows, El Pasoans are notorious for capturing some pretty amazing photographs around our city, including:

A weird optical illusion made us believe the sun was setting in the East instead of West El Paso.

Susan Dubow

A stunning photograph of the rare Super Blood Flower Moon hanging over Mt. Cristo Rey.

J Garcia Imagery

And then there was the perfect rainbow photographed over El Paso High School and across the city.

David Palmer

So what makes this photograph so unique? Well, for starters, it's not often that we get to see a fire rainbow, and second, the image was incredibly captured on an iPhone 8 during the exact moment that a plane was flying by, casting a pillar of light across the sky - making it that much more impressive.

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