Rare and beautiful ‘Rainbow clouds’ spotted in the skies above Manchester

What a sight this was.

Daisy Jackson Daisy Jackson - 21st December 2023

Mancs have been treated to the rare phenomenon of ‘rainbow clouds’ in the skies this morning.

Those who glanced up around the city today will have noticed that the clouds appeared to be glowing in different colours, including bright pinks, purples and yellows.

The stunning coloured cloud formations are also nicknamed Mother of Pearl clouds, due their resemblance to the iridescent material.

Some people said it looked like ‘an oil slick in the sky’ too.

The rare spectacle is actually a Nacreous cloud, which is more commonly spotted over the polar regions than here in the UK.


They form far higher than normal clouds and in very cold conditions, and it’s the tiny ice particles that form nacreous clouds that scatter light to create their distinctive luminescent appearance.

People across Greater Manchester have been sharing incredible photos of the ‘rainbow clouds’ spectacle above the region.


One person wrote: “I’ve never seen any before – they were amazing!”

Someone else wrote: “Amazing very rare Nacreous clouds visible above #Didsbury #Manchester right now.”

Another said on Facebook: “Amazing rainbow clouds over Manchester this morning. Never seen anything like it!”


And someone else joked: “Aww I missed gay sky. Gutted.”

The Met Office says: “Nacreous clouds are rare and very high clouds, known mainly for the coloured light they reflect after sunset and before sunrise.

“The colours are reminiscent of the colours which reflect from a thin layer of oil on top of water, an effect known as iridescence.”

Here are some more photos of the rainbow clouds, aka mother of pearl clouds, aka nacreous clouds, over Greater Manchester today:

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Featured image: Ana Centino