What is Iridescence?
Iridescence Caused by Reflections
Iridescence is an optical phenomenon whereby the colours on a surface appear to change depending on the angle from which they're viewed or illuminated.
It's caused by multiple reflections in multi-layered, semi-transparent surfaces. Examples of materials that exhibit iridescence include soap bubbles, butterfly wings and certain rocks and minerals. Mother of pearl, rainbow moonstone and the mineral labradorite all exhibit iridescence.
The butterflies in our photo are on display in the Harvard Museum of Natural History, Massachusetts, USA. Photo by Stone Mania ©. Clicking the image redirects to the original non-compressed photo.