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‘A gift from the sky’: record nine-hour rainbow appears in Taiwan

‘A gift from the sky’: record nine-hour rainbow appears in Taiwan
‘A gift from the sky’: record nine-hour rainbow appears in Taiwan

Hong Kong: A professor in Taiwan claims to have witnessed the longest ever visible rainbow, clocking in at nearly nine hours, and plans to submit it for a world record.

The rainbow lasted for eight hours and 58 minutes in the mountains around the Taiwanese capital of Taipei, according to Chou Kun-hsuan, a professor at the Chinese Culture University.

Chou, along with colleague Liu Ching-huang, scrambled to document the rainbow that appeared on 30 November, mustering students to photograph the arc from every angle. The professors were originally monitoring the rainbow to test a theory that the bands of light descend as time passes.

“It was amazing ... It felt like a gift from the sky ... It’s so rare,” Chou told the BBC. “When we broke the previous record after passing six hours, I was hardly able to stay seated for lunch.

“I was so excited.”

The professors observed four separate rainbows during the nine-hour period, at one time photographing all in a single frame. The previous day a rainbow near the campus appeared for six hours.

A combination of a seasonal monsoons trapping moist air, a lack of strong winds and a partially cloudy sky allowed for the rainbow to be visible for such a long time. The moisture formed clouds and caused a steady stream of rain, but there was still plenty of sunshine.

Sunlight passing through rain and moisture in the air create the phenomenon, but only when viewed from the correct angle.

Chou plans to apply to Guinness World Records for the world’s longest visible rainbow. The previous record holder was seen for six hours above Sheffield, UK, in 1994.

“With the 10,000 pictures we took in our department alone, and the many more taken by others on campus and people living nearby, I’m confident we can prove to Guinness second by second that this rainbow lasted for nine hours,” Chou said.

 
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