It may be a running joke that it’s always raining in the UK, but there’s a lot more to our weather than the wet stuff.

We take a look at nine of the weirdest weather phenomena you can witness:

Pink moon

Pink moon

A pink moon is another name for a very full moon in April.

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The pink in its name doesn't refer to the colour of the moon. Instead it is named after the flower, pinks, which bloom in early spring.

Other names include the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon and the Fish Moon.


From pancake ice to blood moons: 8 of the weirdest weather phenomena

The elusive ‘moonbow’, or lunar rainbow, is just that – a rainbow shape formed by moonlight rather than sunlight.

Moonbows appear when moonlight is refracted through moisture droplets in the atmosphere. Usually much fainter than their daytime counterparts, moonbows form the same colours as a rainbow, but often appear white to the human eye.

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You’re more likely to see a moonbow somewhere where the air is full of moisture – like near a waterfall.

However, they can be sighted anywhere, as photographer Ben Gwynne proved with his stunning photo of a moonbow over Skipton in Yorkshire.

Photo credit: Ben Gwynne/159 photography

Pancake ice

From pancake ice to blood moons: 8 of the weirdest weather phenomena

When swirling foam on a river or sea starts to freeze the phenomenon of pancake ice is born. Round pieces of ice – resembling pancake or lily pads – form on the surface of the water. Separate ‘pancakes’ colliding with each other cause the edges to become elevated – adding to the phenomenon’s weird appearance. 

Normally occuring in the Arctic or Baltic seas, an unusual UK case was spotted in Ullapool in the north of Scotland.

Photo credit: SWNS

Noctilucent clouds

From pancake ice to blood moons: 8 of the weirdest weather phenomena

Extremely rare to see, noctilucent clouds occur when the Sun is below the observer’s horizon, but the clouds themselves are bathed in sunlight.

Most common in the in summer months, between 50 degrees and 65 degrees north or south of the Equator, these clouds soar 53 miles high in the atmosphere and are made of ice crystals.

These beauties were observed over Whitley Bay.

Nacreous clouds

From pancake ice to blood moons: 8 of the weirdest weather phenomena

Otherwise known as mother-of-pearl clouds or polar stratospheric clouds, nacreous clouds form in the lower stratosphere. Usually found in the polar regions, much like nocitlucent clouds they occur when the Sun is below the horizon of the observer.

Unlike noctilucent clouds, which are a dawn phenomenon, nacreous clouds occur around twilight.

It is possible to view nacreous clouds in the UK, but only when we are in the grip of a polar vortex, as these photos from the skies above Scotland, Northumberland and North Yorkshire show. 

Aurora borealis

The famed aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, and their southern hemisphere counterparts the aurora australis, or Southern Lights, occur when electrons collide in the highest part of the atmosphere.

Known for their vivid hues of green, pink, purple, blue, red and yellow, the aurora borealis can be spotted in Scotland, Northern England, Northern Ireland and even North Wales – as this stunning photo shows. 

Fire rainbow

From pancake ice to blood moons: 8 of the weirdest weather phenomena

A fire rainbow isn’t a rainbow made from fire, but is a normal rainbow shaped like a phoenix – or fire bird.

Otherwise known as a ‘circumhorizontal arc’, a fire rainbow occurs when light hits ice crystals, causing the clouds to appear multi-coloured. The display only occurs when the sun is very high in the sky, typically at an angle higher than 58 degrees.

Photo credit: Tiffany Jenks/REX

Solar halo

A halo around the Sun occurs when light from the Sun interracts with ice crystals found in the upper atmosphere. A circular halo is also known as a 22 degree halo – and has a radius of around 22 degrees.

This example was filmed in Mexico City.

Blood moon

From pancake ice to blood moons: 8 of the weirdest weather phenomena

The moon glowing pink, orange or red in the night sky is known as a ‘blood moon’. This occurs during a total lunar eclipse.

The distinctive red colour is due to the light from all the Earth’s sunsets and sunrises shimmering from Earth on the face of the moon during the eclipse.

Several such blood moons were visible during the ‘lunar tetrad’ of 2014-15. The next such tetrad won’t occur until 2032-33.