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Campaign started to have record-setting rainbow recognized

2017-12-05  English News
Photo courtesy of Chou Kun-hsuan
Photo courtesy of Chou Kun-hsuan
Taipei, Dec. 4 (CNA) An online campaign launched by local professors is hoping to get Taiwan recognized by the Guinness World Records for a recent rainbow that they believe is the longest-lasting rainbow ever recorded.

Chou Kun-hsuan, a professor with the Department of Atmospheric Science at Chinese Culture University in Taipei, said the department is trying to collect at least 36,000 photos from the public to document the rainbow's existence from 6:57 a.m. to 3:55 p.m. on Nov. 30.

He told CNA on Monday that the photos will be used to create a "rainbow clock" to prove to the Guinness World Records committee that the longest-lasting rainbow has taken place in Taiwan.
The team is on a mission to compile a world-class profile for the rainbow, Chou said, inviting the public to get involved in the campaign to help Taiwan become part of meteorological history.

Most rainbows last for less than an hour, and the existing Guinness record for the longest-lasting rainbow of 6 hours was set in 1994 in Wetherby, Yorkshire in the United Kingdom.

Chou wants to provide ample evidence to prove that the rainbow he and others saw was truly unique and obliterated the existing record.

"We need to be fully prepared and provide ironclad evidence in case of any doubt about the authenticity of the rainbow," he said.

The rainbow clock powered by the 36,000 pictures should be able to create an effect similar to time-lapse photography that shows second-to-second movements of the rainbow during those nine hours, Chou explained.

The department has so far compiled 540 photos from its own cameras, which is only able to produce a "minute-based clock," Chou said.

"The duration of the rainbow caught us by surprise," he said, lamenting that his team only recorded the rainbow with minute-by-minute photos rather than by video because they never expected it to last so long.

Trying to fill in the gaps, Chou said he and other faculty and students are soliciting as many pictures as possible to prepare for a strict examination by Guinness inspectors.

According to the team, the most vital time frame for rainbow photos lies between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., when the relatively high position of the sun made it more difficult to observe and thus could draw doubts over whether it was still there.

Even if the campaign fails, Chou said it would still be worthwhile to keep a scientific record of the rainbow that is as comprehensive as possible because very few studies of rainbows in Taiwan have been conducted.

"It's so rare that chances for such a rainbow are lower than having someone struck by lightning twice in a row," he said.

Ultimately, Chou said, he hoped to introduce Taipei as a "rainbow city" to the world because weather conditions and the terrain are ideal for rainbows to form around the campus in the mountainous Yangmingshan area.

The key for long-lasting rainbows is moderate seasonal winds and hilly terrain that help accumulate just the right amount of moisture, he explained.

"Why wouldn't we want to make Taiwan a destination of colors?" he said. "If Iceland is known for aurora, Taiwan can do the same for long-lasting rainbows. Plus we have more colors than they do."

To support Chou's campaign, those who have kept pictures of the rainbow on that day are encouraged to send them to his Facebook account: https://www.facebook.com/ksjou.ntu