Multiple rainbows! Max? Others?

I’m still dazzled. Pictures weren’t possible, I was driving.

Around 40 mins ago I saw the clearest TRIPLE rainbow I’ve ever seen, with an inner and an outer bow. The central bow was sharpest, the outer bow was almost as clear and the inner bow could have been the ‘shadow’ of either as it was also clear it transparent (like stained glass).

All rainbows had complete colours, and almost repeated colours. All rainbows showed both ends (ie one end in the hills, the other in the trees in the Wetlands). It’s now 8am here, sunrise was over 2 hours ago. 
I stopped to fill the car up - the driver behind me told us he’d seen 5 rainbows.

I know how they’re formed, but how do we get such perfect and so many reflections visible over a wide area??


Once while on the gulf coast of Florida, after a brief storm, there was a very clear rainbow over the gulf and a second very clear rainbow to the east.  Very cool as there was a rainbow both east and west.  


Multiple rainbows are thought to be reflections of the main rainbow, either in the raindrops themselves or from a nearby body of water, or both.


Double rainbow all the way!!






I learned the colors of the rainbow as:  red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.   Now it seems that most pictures of rainbows have just six colors.   


jeffl,  it was a bit like that, with the softer bow underneath the brighter one, and then another just about as bright above it. That last one’s top layer seemed to dissolve into blue sky the longer you looked then come back as you turned your head. 
Robert, all 7 colours were present but you had to really focus to see them all, it was so dazzling. The idea struck me that we’re so used to visual clutter in our cityscapes, we’re not used to fine detail focussing for unaided detailed long-distance viewing these days.

Everyone I spoke was struck by the beauty and the rarity of the event. Max, it’s interesting that the light was reflected this way, so clearly and visibly. 


joanne said:

jeffl,  it was a bit like that, with the softer bow underneath the brighter one, and then another just about as bright above it. That last one’s top layer seemed to dissolve into blue sky the longer you looked then come back as you turned your head. 
Robert, all 7 colours were present but you had to really focus to see them all, it was so dazzling. The idea struck me that we’re so used to visual clutter in our cityscapes, we’re not used to fine detail focussing for unaided detailed long-distance viewing these days.

Everyone I spoke was struck by the beauty and the rarity of the event. Max, it’s interesting that the light was reflected this way, so clearly and visibly. 

Joanne, that video became viral in 2010 after it was shown by Jimmy Kimmel.  It’s a classic.  Many spoofs were done of it since.  Watch it with the sound on if you haven’t. 


RobertRoe said:

I learned the colors of the rainbow as:  red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.   Now it seems that most pictures of rainbows have just six colors.   

Or, as those of us who've had anything to do with electronics at some stage in our past would know it - ROY G BIV


Thirty-odd years ago, my mom and I were visiting with her old friends in Gimli, on the shore of Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba. I saw a pretty clear triple rainbow across the lake, and it was spectacular! If I can locate the pictures,  I’ll post one. 


I am trying to think like a science class here.  A full rainbow probably has all the colors of the visible spectrum from (infra) red to (ultra) violet like a prism.    (Of course, we cannot see infrared or ultraviolet.)  Some color bands are wider, so we see and count them as distinct.   Perhaps I am wrong on this point and do not recall being taught this, but it seems sensible to an old science major



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