Reflected Rainbow, Reflection Rainbow



When a rainbow appears above a body of water, two complementary mirror bows may be seen below and above the horizon, originating from different light paths. Their names are slightly different.

A reflected rainbow may appear in the water surface below the horizon. The sunlight is first deflected by the raindrops, and then reflected off the body of water, before reaching the observer. It is not a mirror image of the primary rainbow, since the crest of its mirror image is displaced by twice the height of the observer above the water table. The reflected rainbow is frequently visible, at least partially, even in small puddles.

A reflection rainbow may be produced where sunlight reflects off a body of water before reaching the raindrops, if the water body is large, quiet over its entire surface, and close to the rain curtain. The reflection rainbow appears above the horizon. It intersects the normal rainbow at the horizon, and its arc reaches higher in the sky, with its centre as high above the horizon as the normal rainbow's centre is below it. Due to the combination of requirements, a reflection rainbow is rarely visible.

Six (or even eight) bows may be distinguished if the reflection of the reflection bow, and the secondary bow with its reflections happen to appear simultaneously.





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