From the ABC 7 Weather team

Rainbows and Double Rainbows! Oh My!

April 25, 2013 - 03:52 PM
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Late afternoon showers along the Shenandoah led to some beautiful rainbows and even double rainbows! Check out this amazing photo gallery!

19 Photos
(Photo: Megan Bowers/Lauryn Ricketts)

Yesterday afternoon, as a cold front pushed closer to the region, a few showers and thunderstorms popped up.  After they ended, the sun broke out again and gave way to some gorgeous rainbows.  A few viewers even spotted double rainbows.  A rainbow occurs when sunlight is spread through water droplets.  The spectrum of colors spread out and 'bow', as the light refracts from the water droplet.  

Dana Hillmoe - Hagerstown, MD

So how does a double rainbow occur?  The same process of sunlight passing through the water droplet occurs to create the first, or primary, rainbow.  In the event of a double rainbow, there is extra sun energy that does not get reflected from the water drop the first time around, so it is reflected again and another rainbow develops.  But look close!  Notice anything?  The secondary rainbow's colors are reversed!  This happens because the sun's rays exit at different angles.  Here's a great link with more on rainbows from UCAR.

Michael Hess - Stephens City, VA


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