Posted on 07/20/2007

Photo taken on July 14, 2007

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supernumerary rainbow

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supernumerary overload

supernumerary overload
we had a very changeable weather day in co. cork on the 14th July 2007; this was taken at 2102 hrs during a heavy rain shower from my back door ! the original was nice but a few small tweaks in PS really brought out the supernumerary bows inside the main bow - the sun was seriously low and gave rise to the very big bow :-)

Hope you think this works - its tough to get a closeup of a rainbow at the best of times let alone a supernumeray :-)

Info from the wikipedia on Supernumerary Rainbows: Infrequently, another beautiful and striking rainbow phenomenon can be observed, consisting of several faint rainbows on the inner side of the primary rainbow, and very rarely also outside the secondary rainbow. They are slightly detached and have pastel colour bands that do not fit the usual pattern. They are known as supernumerary rainbows, and it is not possible to explain their existence using classical geometric optics. The alternating faint rainbows are caused by interference between rays of light following slightly different paths with slightly varying lengths within the raindrops. Some rays are in phase, reinforcing each other through constructive interference, creating a bright band; others are out of phase by up to half a wavelength, cancelling each other out through destructive interference, and creating a gap. Given the different angles of refraction for rays of different colours, the patterns of interference are slightly different for rays of different colours, so each bright band is differentiated in colour, creating a miniature rainbow. Supernumerary rainbows are clearest when raindrops are small and of similar size. The very existence of supernumerary rainbows was historically a first indication of the wave nature of light, and the first explanation was provided by Thomas Young in 1804.

there is an even more indepth discussion of supernumerary bows at this most excellent site (and thx to Pink Pepper Photo for the heads up)

more on supernumerary rainbows

and btw - we've been away on holiday to the UK so sorry for not keeping up with my comments :-) Normal service will be resumed shortly!