Reflection Rainbow

There is (literally) more to this odd looking bow than meets the eye.

It was taken by Günther Konnen on the Dutch island of Terschelling late on the afternoon of November 18, ’05. The sun was only 4° high.

What is the apparently discontinuous and almost vertical bow, part of which even curves inwards to the left? The upper part is a reflection bow. Sunlight was reflecting off a small lake about 200m across and 1100m from the camera. The upward going reflected rays, as though from a sun shining 4° below the horizon, formed the tall bow.

The lower stubby fragment is the normal primary bow. The remainder of the primary is not visible because a cloud had blocked the direct sunlight from shining on the raindrops in front of the camera. “Just before this picture was taken, I saw the reflection bow and the normal rainbow together. By the time I had got my camera, the normal rainbow was gone. A cloud had blocked the direct sunlight to the rain shower. The reflection of the sun was still illuminating the raindrops via a path under the cloud. This is the result.

To the right is a faint secondary fragment and perhaps a hint of the secondary reflection bow.

More reflection bows 1,2,3,4.

©Günther Konnen, shown with permission.