We saw this cloud right around noon on Wednesday. Those amazing colours lasted only a few minutes. It was basically a cloud-shaped rainbow. This photo doesn’t do it justice. (I was in the car.) ETA: apparently it was a fire rainbow.
The most interesting thing about it, though, was that when I first stepped out of the house, I didn’t notice it. Kelley did. “Wow,” she said. “Look at that cloud!” and pointed. It looked like…a cloud. Utterly unremarkable. Normal cloud colour and everything. “Can’t you see it?” she said. I said I could see the cloud, but it was, well, just a cloud. And as we were late, opened the car door, put my polarised sunglasses, and prepared to get in the car…and, Whap! the prismatic colours leapt out at me–not as bright as they are here (the cloud, and the colours, were moving fast; this was the tail-end of the light show, a pale shadow of its main glory) but clear. But Kelley wasn’t wearing sunglasses; she could see the colours anyway.
Eventually I could see them, too, even without the sunglasses. But I didn’t to begin with. And today I read this article, positing the existence of women who have super vision:
Living among us are people with four cones, who might experience a range of colors invisible to the rest. It’s possible these so-called tetrachromats see a hundred million colors, with each familiar hue fracturing into a hundred more subtle shades for which there are no names, no paint swatches. And because perceiving color is a personal experience, they would have no way of knowing they see far beyond what we consider the limits of human vision.
I sorta like the notion that my sweetie has superpowers…
13 thoughts on “Some women can see a hundred million colours”
That is amazing – I wonder what was going on with that cloud! I've never even heard of something like that before! So it had been looking more like the colors of the rainbow, caught in the cloud mist?
It looked like someone had caught a cloud and dipped it in bowls of Easter Egg pastel dyes. Really beautiful.
Apparently it was a fire rainbow. Relatively rare.
My mother had a sort of “perfect pitch” for color. She could match colors from memory. When I was little, I thought everyone could do that.
I think mothers are issued a whole set of mysterious superpowers…
I saw one that day too. Maybe the same one! :) And I've seen them here several times before. And only once or twice other places. Made my day a little brighter each time.
The 4 cones thing is pretty interesting! I would love to be tested for that, but I'm guessing I don't have it. There is a phenomenon observed a lot in Yosemite called 'lunar rainbows.' They are rainbows seen at night in a waterfall mist. The times they will be visible can be calculated, and photogs turn out by the hundreds for it now. Usually at 1 or 2 am is the peak.
Anyway, the relevant part to this is that a lot of people cannot see them with their naked eye, but the camera records them. A guy who can see them discovered it one night, and now they are becoming well known.
I love rainbows. And clouds. So a rainbow cloud? Love it.
What stage were the colours when you saw it? At its height, there were many colours, including bronze and gold–at least that's how it looked to me. Astonishing.
I just heard about this from a story on Radiolab a couple of weeks ago! Cool!
I realized it wasn't the same one – mine didn't look like that. I don't know what stage – I only saw it briefly, and it was more of the pastel colors that Kelley spoke of above. It seemed smaller, didn't seem to be fast moving, and there were more clouds around than in your pic. I didn't even try to take a photo with my phone.
I've seen this when I lived in Sedona! I have pictures somewhere. (And I have the same super-power as your sweetie, but had no idea it was unusual!)
You could see it when others couldn't?
Yup! I was pointing and excited (I was at the library) and people were sort of uhuh, a cloud. It was a very confusing reaction until reading this post. So thank you.
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