A STUNNING picture of a "horizontal" rainbow over Worcester has been captured from the Malvern Hills.

Steve Thomas, of Much Cowarne in Herefordshire, took the stunning picture yesterday afternoon (Thursday, April 6) after taking a walk up the hills. 

He said: "I decided to go for walk up the Malvern Hills hoping to photograph some interesting weather and cloud formations.

"At about 2.45pm I noticed this rainbow in the distance above Worcester which appeared to be horizontal rather than curved.

"I'm sure it was just a trick of the light, but it seemed unusual to me. I was quite pleased how it turned out as it was taken hand held in a howling wind.

"I have a fascination with all things weather related."

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Mr Thomas said he was caught in a storm and had to wait for the weather to clear before he was able to get the picture.

He said: "I parked at the British Camp hotel car park, and I almost made it to the top of the Herefordshire Beacon before a storm began to roll in.

"I took cover behind a tree to shelter from the worst of the rain and hail and waited for the storm to clear.

"When I saw the rainbow, I quickly got my Fuji camera out with telephoto lens and took a few shots."

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Mr Thomas posts his photography on his Twitter page @SteveThomasWX.

Rainbows are formed by rays of light from the sun hitting water which reflects some of the light.

They are visible when the sun is shining behind you and the water is in front of you.

It may be a circumhorizontal arc which is an optical phenomenen that is rare to see in northern Europe.

According to Professor Paul Thursday on Weatherology, the physics behind how horizontal rainbows form is quite different than that of the typical rainbow.

He explained that the optical phenomenon is brought on by the way in which light passes through suspended ice crystals in the atmosphere.