Is it true that Venus has its own form of rain­bow?

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DAMION RIES, RENO, USA

Venus has an op­ti­cal phe­nom­e­non called a ‘glory’ which – like a rain­bow – forms when sun­light falls on cloud droplets. How­ever, glo­ries are caused by the in­ter­fer­ence of light waves within droplets, whereas rain­bows are caused by the re­flec­tion, re­frac­tion and dis­per­sion of light. Un­like the broad arc of a rain­bow, a glory is typ­i­cally seen as a se­ries of coloured con­cen­tric rings. In 2011, a Venu­sian glory was ob­served by ESA’s Venus Ex­press probe, prob­a­bly caused by sun­light in­ter­act­ing with the sul­phuric acid/fer­ric chlo­ride droplets in the planet’s at­mos­phere.

Venus has a ‘glory’ rather than a rain­bow. But hey: you say potato…

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