Rare 'smile in the sky' rainbow spotted over Welsh border

A rare upside down rainbow has been caught on camera after it was spotted in the sky.

Quick-thinking Carol Bramley managed to catch a snap of the bizarre sight, known as a smile in the sky, on her camera phone after her son spotted it while in the garden.

Carol said: "It was amazing. I've never seen one before and I'll never seen one again."

The strange sight properly called a circumzenithal arc - also known as the Bravais' arc - is formed when sunlight refracts through horizontal ice crystals high in the atmosphere but it is hard to spot inverted rainbows as they are often concealed by clouds.

The Met Office say the phenomenon only occurs when thin wispy cirrus clouds - made of ice crystals - are at a specific angle to the sun.

Carol's experience, near the Welsh border at Kington, Herefordshire, was made extra special by the formation of a similarly rare supralateral arc which was joined on to the other halo.

"My son Ellis, was in the garden and called me out to have a look at a rainbow on a cloud above," she said.

"I grabbed my phone to take some pictures and as we watched a complete arc formed in the sky. I have never seen this phenomenon before and it was amazing to watch."

School assistant Ms Bramley said she knew the phenomenon was something special but did not realise how rare it was until a physics teacher at the school told her about it.

It is quite a common sight in the poles but they're much more difficult to spot elsewhere.

She said: "I felt quite privileged that I had seen it."