South Shore Breaker

Triple checking a reflection rainbow

- ALLISTER AALDERS weather@saltwire.com @allisterca­nada Allister Aalders is a weather specialist with Saltwire Network. Reach him at allister. aalders@saltwire.com

You’ve likely witnessed a rainbow before, possibly a double rainbow too.

But have you ever witnessed one that looks like a triple rainbow?

Marilyn Parker captured what appears to be a faint ‘reflection rainbow’ in Loch Broom, N.S. recently. You may be wondering, what is a reflection rainbow, and how does it form?

Let’s first go over the science

behind rainbow formation.

Light from the sun enters water droplets. The light entering the droplet slows down, bending it and changing its direction, known as refraction.

The colours in the visible light spectrum are separated and reflected out of the droplet, making the colours we see in a rainbow.

A double rainbow forms when sunlight is reflected twice within a rain droplet. The second rainbow is fainter than the primary rainbow and is spread out over a wider area of the sky but follows the same arc.

On the other hand, a reflection rainbow occurs when the sun is low on the horizon, such as in late afternoon or, in the case of Marilyn’s photo, in the evening. Light reflects off a calm body of water upward into water droplets in the sky.

In Marilyn’s photo, you can see the faint primary bow on the right side of the image, then the reflection bows directly above it and the very faint double bow above the trees on the left side of the image.

Marilyn was in the right place at the right time, as reflection bows are not a common sight.

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 ?? CONTRIBUTE­D ?? Marilyn Parker recently captured this photo of a faint reflection rainbow.
CONTRIBUTE­D Marilyn Parker recently captured this photo of a faint reflection rainbow.

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