Monday, October 10, 2011

First Quadruple Rainbow Picture

Photograph courtesy Michael Theusner, Applied Optics

NatGeo - Blink and you might miss them, but these two colorful smudges (center) form the second half of the first quadruple rainbow to be caught on camera, validating years of claims that such phenomena could exist, a new study says.

“[It's as if] the natives are telling you that there’s this creature in the rain forest, but they only have stories,” said Raymond Lee, a professor of meteorology at the U.S. Naval Academy, who recently published a study in the journal Applied Opticsdescribing the conditions under which a tertiary rainbow should be visible.

Lee’s research inspired some scientists to try to snap photos of the elusive vision, resulting in this picture, taken June 11 near Bremerhaven, Germany. “When you finally succeed in capturing it in photography, that’s a thrill,” Lee said.

And while “quadruple rainbow” might call to mind a stack of four arcs, only two rainbows can be caught in a single frame, because of the way light reflects and bends within raindrops.                          

Read More & Watch the Slideshow