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What caused the Quadruple Rainbow?

  1. Apr 21, 2015 #1


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    I've done this synthetically, in the past.
    I've never seen a natural set before.
    I wonder what caused the second set. A lake?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 21, 2015 #2
    The photo makes it look like a double rainbow with a reflection rainbow. Wikipedia has a nice article on rainbows. Many years ago I saw what I now realize was a supernumerary rainbow in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. I had never seen one before and have never seen one since. But I still remember how awesome it was.

  4. Apr 22, 2015 #3
    Yep - looks to be a double rainbow, with a reflected one, taken near sunrise/set. IIRC I photographed a simpler one a decade ago; single and a reflected single that came off the ocean.

    Edit: Found the slide film, popped on the monitor and photographed; it was a double and a fainter reflected double.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 22, 2015
  5. Apr 22, 2015 #4


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    After a bit of research, it had to have been the Long Island Sound that reflected the sunlight.


    The yellow pin is where Amanda was standing, and she was looking in the direction of the arrow.

    Glen Cove LIRR station on Long Island, NY: 40.865189°N 73.616976°W
    photo capture: 4/21/2015 6:30 am
  6. Apr 22, 2015 #5


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    I live in Colorado near the Rockies and see supernumerary rainbows often, typically two to four at a time. I never realized that they were rare!
  7. Apr 23, 2015 #6


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    I went back and re-read the entry on "Supernumerary rainbows". That is really interesting.

    I did not know that.

    Here's an interesting simulation I just found, showing the effect with the required droplet size:
    (The slider they mention, is the inverted skinny grey triangle to the right of the image)

    Supernumeraries & Drop Size
  8. May 31, 2015 #7


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    Today, my last Facebook friend from work, posted the following, having taken the picture about 2 hours ago:


    Like her, it really had me puzzled.
    So I went through the wiki entry on Rainbows, and found the following:

    Not a rainbow? pfft!
    If it's not a rainbow, then what's it doing in the "Rainbow" section?
    Answer me that, wiki......
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