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Photo of Rare Circle Rainbow Shows Up on Reddit

Photo credit: oskarslidums/Reddit

Rainbows are cool, double rainbows even cooler, triple rainbows are awe-inspiring and a circle rainbow…Well, that’s borderline mind-blowing.

A Reddit user named “oskarslidums,” posted an incredible image that shows one of these rare circular rainbows. Better yet, this was a double circular rainbow.

Could you imagine what this guy would do if he saw a double circle rainbow?

According to the original Reddit post, the image was taken from an airplane.

How exactly does a circular rainbow form? The short answer is: Exactly like a normal rainbow.

The optical physics behind how a rainbow forms might leave you snoozing – if you’re reading on, this might be the optimal time to pop an energy drink – but we’ll do our best to keep it short and not so boring. But, science is cool, right!?

So, there are three main ingredients to rainbow: Water droplets, light from the sun and a specific angle of refraction.

Light from the sun appears to be white, but in actuality it’s a number of different colors – red, orange, yellow, green, indigo, blue and violet. When the light from the sun enters a raindrop, it refracts. Meaning the light bends as it enters the drop and all of the colors are extracted out of the white light.

The newly refracted light then hits the back of the drop and it reflected back through the front of the drop. As the light exits the drop a second refraction occurs, sending the red light down at 42º and the blue light at 40º. And with your back to the sun, a rainbow appears.

In the case of a double rainbow, light enters the drop, refracts and then reflects – exactly as described above. One difference is the light reflects once more on the back of the drop, before exiting. The second reflection allows the colors in the sun’s light to be inverted, which is why you’ll see blue on top and red on bottom.

The sight of a circle rainbow occurs when you’re higher in the air, and the terrain doesn’t impede the development of the full circle.

Meteorologist Alan Raymond

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