Social media was aflutter on Monday and Tuesday morning as people in Lisburn shared their amazement at the rainbow clouds that were lighting up the city skyline,
As the sun rose across the city, commuters noticed the unusual phenomena above the city.
The beautiful clouds, which appeared to contain rainbows, were spotted throughout the UK on Tuesday (February 2) and people in Lisburn were delighted to be have a good view of the very rare nacreous clouds.
Many people jumped on Facebook and Twitter to wonder at the sunrise and to find out just what the brightly coloured clouds were.
The iridescent clouds, which take their name from Mother of Pearl, are normally seen in the winter polar stratosphere.
The clouds form at around 70,000 feet and the recent storms may have caused the phenomena to appear more clearly as moisture is driven up into the stratosphere.
Their colour comes from ice crystals refracting the sun’s rays to give the rainbow effect.
The clouds are most commonly seen in Antarctica or during the Arctic winter. It is unusual for the nacreous clouds to be spotted this far south and it is thought they were last seen at this latitude as far back as 1996.
Local photographer Stephen Wallace from Hibernia Landscapes was standing on the train platform the first day these clouds made and appearance with just his phone camera to hand.
Stephen explained: “I hadn’t heard of these clouds then. I didn’t know what was causing the rainbow colours in the sky.
“That evening I found out more about them and heard there may be another chance to experience the next morning, and I wasn’t going to miss that.”
Stephen rushed to this viewpoint of Lisburn’s skyline just before sunrise and set up his tripod to capture this shot.
“Within 30 seconds, the stormy skies we’ve become used to swept in and there was quite a dramatic sunrise, but these clouds were covered,” he continued.
“However, it was these rainbow-like clouds I’d come to see, and I got them, just!”
Stephen was delighted to capture the rare moment that has everyone in Lisburn talking,