Chasing Rainbows on a Sunday Afternoon
It was unsettled weather this past Sunday.
Rain showers…sun…rain showers…sun…etc.
Got a bit wet. Saw a small rainbow.
Managed to catch the occasional bass. Little scrappers, they are.
Sun came out again. Then more unsettled weather.
Then I heard a rushing sound: “Shhhhhhhhhhhh….!!!”
Which I knew was a wall of rain coming slowly my way across the lake.
Cursing the weather, I reluctantly ducked under a tree and waited out the downpour.
Shortly after which, was one of the best rainbows in recent memory.
WOW. A double !!!
Notice how the rainbow is in FRONT of the trees on the far show. I’m actually seeing where the rainbow BEGINS.
I went to Google Earth later, and estimated the rainbow was about 500 meters away from where I was standing.
Of course, if I had paddled 500 meters to try to catch it, I’d never have succeeded. I’d only just end up seeing a different rainbow, further away. (Sorry, folks. No pot of gold.)
This is because there isn’t actually any “unique” single rainbow in the sky. Rainbows are an optical phenomenon that have to do with light reflecting and refracting inside of raindrops. Every person sees a slightly different rainbow.
Double rainbows occur when light is reflected inside the raindrops not once, but twice. The order of colors in the secondary rainbow is always reversed from the first one, like a mirror image.
In both rainbows, the reds are towards the inside, the violets on the outside. It’s always like this. That’s just how the laws of physics work.
The area between the two rainbows is darker than the rest of the sky. This is called “Alexander’s Band“. Again, I won’t go into all the details (I’m a bit rusty on undergraduate physics!).
Suffice to say, all these phenomena have to do with the physical properties of water and how light bends while travelling through it.
I didn’ t overanalzye this while I was on the lake, though. I just sat back and enjoyed nature’s show.
The rainbow spanned the entire lake, right in front of me, from one end to the other.
In my 48 years on this planet, I’d never seen such a thing.
And that was well-worth getting wet over.