Oct 10, 2008

Posted by in General | 2 Comments

A rainbow : double and supernumerary

I sometimes joke that if the physicists were given all the laws of Physics and asked to create a universe, we might have come up with galaxies, and stars and suns and moons and mountains and may be even rain, but we would have never ever come up with a rainbow!

An exceptional picture of a rainbow. It was taken by Eric Rolph in Alska at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Click for a better view.

best rainbow

You can, of course see the double rainbow, but you also see supernumerary rainbow ; at least two of them!

On the inner fringe of the primary bow you will notice that the colors start repeating themselves for what appears to be two more cycles. Supernumerary rainbows are clearest when raindrops are small and of similar size.


Talk Like a Physicist

  1. if every rain drop acts like a prism ,so there should be lots of rainbows,but why we see just a few of them?!

  2. Well, I’m pretty sure the rain drops have to cooperate to form a rainbow. The light has to come from a certain angle and there must be a whole lot of water in the air.

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