What Is A Double Rainbow And What Does It Mean For The Weather?

As we all know, seeing a rainbow is good luck, provided that you can find the end of it, along with a pot of gold. While the gold part may be false, the fact is that seeing a rainbow in nature is always an exciting experience. But what if you witness a double rainbow? What does that mean? Is it a weather warning, or does it just offer twice as many chances to find the leprechaun?

What Causes Rainbows?

The process of seeing a rainbow is rather incredible, only because several different variables must come together for it to happen. This is also why double rainbows can be such a delight since they require even more luck to occur.

The first thing to know about rainbows is that they can only appear when the sun is behind you, and there is rain ahead. It doesn’t have to be raining on top of where you are (usually it isn’t), but there does have to be plenty of water in the air.

The second thing is that the sun has to be at a particular angle. According to world weather data, that angle is 48 degrees. If it’s higher or lower than that, you won’t see anything.

The colors of the rainbow are created as the light is refracted through the water droplets. The other amazing thing about it is that each color comes through at a different wavelength, which is why they are always in the same order (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet).

Double Rainbows

The reason that this occurrence is so rare is that it requires more light, and it is the result of the beam reflecting in the water after refraction. Since the second rainbow is reflected, not refracted, it appears in reverse.

What Does it Mean?

Overall, there is no particular significance to a double rainbow, but the fact that it reflects twice could suggest that the water droplets are thicker and have more surface area. Nonetheless, most storm tracking software doesn’t really monitor why double rainbows exist.

In the end, if you do wind up witnessing this natural phenomenon, try to capture a picture. Who knows when you’ll get a chance to see it again?

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