Who saw the double rainbow?

Nancy checked in from the West Roxbury Parkway, says she saw a beautiful double rainbow: "Both were perfect beautiful arcs." Anybody else? Any photos?


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Not your imagination

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This is an often observed effect that has to do with the way light is scattered by the water droplets creating the rainbow.

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A rainbowy week

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Definitely today, on her way back from dropping the kidlet off at dance class. She was so impressed by it she stopped by her favorite sub shop to let the owner know - then called me.

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Priorities

It's good to know where you rate in her list. ;->

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I saw one over Boston when

I saw one over Boston when taking the Masspike eastbound towards the airport. At one point it looked like the rainbow was leaning against the John Hancock from my vantage point.

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Both

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We've had a bunch of rainbows lately. Yesterday's double rainbow appeared around 5:30 - just when many folks were picking up their kids from after-school at my daughter's elementary school. We convinced a couple reluctant grownups (and a few notably more enthusiastic kids) out front to see them. No one had a camera handy to take pictures though. Would have made a great photo for the school as they were arcing over the main entrance.

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Saturday

On Saturday afternoon in Lowell I saw the only triple rainbow I've ever seen. Really faint outer band, screaming vibrant middle band and really faint inner band. And me without a camera.

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Awesome!

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And it's even better because technically what you describe was not a "triple rainbow" - but part of something even rarer - a 6th-order rainbow set!

When weather geeks use terms like "single" (or "primary" or "1st-order") to describe rainbows, they are talking about the number of times that light rays have bounced around inside the water droplets before emerging to form the effect of the rainbow in your eyes. A primary rainbow is caused by light rays that did one internal reflection before they bounced out of the droplets and traveled to your eye. Secondary (or 2nd order) rainbows are from light that bounced twice, etc.

Now when you have your back to the sun, the primary and secondary rainbows appear in front of you. The primary is the brightest and smaller, the secondary is larger and less than half as bright. But the 3rd and 4th order rainbows appear behind you (between you and the sun)! They're so faint (just a fraction as bright as the primary) and so close to the sun's glare that they're nearly always overlooked.

The 5th order rainbow appears connected to the outside rim of the secondary (and is wicked faint - you may have just assumed it was part of the secondary), and the 6th order rainbow appears really wicked faint and a bit inside the primary. So if you saw three unconnected arcs of color - "faint/bright/faint" - that means you were seeing secondary/primary/6th-order rainbows!

Of course all the above nerding doesn't take away the fact that you experienced something extremely rare and undoubtably beautiful! Amazing!

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The treasury must be bankrupt!

If this is taken from the Federal Reserve building, then we know where the pot of gold is not, I guess.

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double rainbow

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You can see the double near the top right corner

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