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Mother of pearl shining in the Swedish sky

The photographer captures a picturesque scene where clouds appear in the sky, a rare type of cloud formed at high altitudes.

NASA shared an image that looks like an abstract painting taken by photographer P-M Heden on January 3. “Bright and shiny, iridescent colored ‘waves’ cover the sky near Tanndalen, Sweden,” NASA said.

Clouds of mother-of-pearl form in the lower stratosphere at an altitude of about 15 to 20 km, according to the British Weather Service (Met Office). The ice particles that make up mother-of-pearl clouds are much smaller than the ice particles in ordinary clouds. The small ice particles diffuse the light in a different way, creating a special iridescent color.

Clouds of mother-of-pearl are very rare. This winter, they only appear a few times in the northern hemisphere. Clouds of mother-of-pearl usually form over the polar region when it is cold, and the sun is just below the horizon.

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