Rainbows are a picturesque natural phenomenon, which occurs when there’s a refraction and reflection of light on water droplets. And while this occurrence can usually be seen only in the Earth’s atmosphere, in the summer of 2011 scientists have witnessed an outer space rainbow for the very first time.
In July 2011 ESA’s Venus Express spotted something extremely unusual on the surface of Venus – a rainbow glory. The main reason between Earth’s rainbows and glories is their shape. While the rainbow usually appears in the form of an arch, the glories look like a series of concentric rings, which are circling around a bright center. The orbiter actually spotted a glory, which means the cloud particles on Venus, which caused the reflection and refraction of light, were spherical and probably had a similar size.
For years many scientists believed Venus’ water droplets were high on Sulphuric acid. Unfortunately, the glory didn’t answer their questions. If anything, it probably even triggered more.