Sunday, March 27, 2011

Triple Rainbow.

Yesterday evening, about 6:45 pm, my wife and I were traveling north. We crossed the green steel bridge just north of Rio Dell, just beyond where Eel River Sawmill used to be. We had driven under a very dark thunder cloud. The sun was shining past the south end of the cloud. There was a vivid and brilliant rainbow. To the side of that there was a lighter rainbow. I remarked how brilliant the "double rainbow"was. She replied with, "there are three of them". I looked in my rearview mirror and sure enough, oposite the bright rainbow toward the sun there was a third rainbow. It was very, very faint, but obviously there. We had a discussion about how we thought that it was impossible to have a triple rainbow, so I googled it. It seems that we are not the only ones to have seen a "triple rainbow", It happens because the primary rainbow is bright enough to reflect a second rainbow, and it in turn is bright enough to reflect a triple rainbow. the rainbow is opposite in spectrum to its reflection. Kind of a mirror image of color.

 I found this "Best Answer" on Yahoo: "The triple rainbow (tertiary rainbow) will be on the opposite side of the sky as the primary and secondary rainbow. The triple rainbow is rarely seen since it is even dimmer than the secondary rainbow and is on the same side of the sky as the sun. Most people do not know where to look for the tertiary rainbow. It is erroneously thought that the third rainbow is above the secondary rainbow since the secondary rainbow is above the primary rainbow."


I got the photo off  Yahoo images. It is not mine, nor is it from around here.

13 comments:

olmanriver said...

It's a known hammer solid fact that triple rainbows only appear to lucky Irishmen, and only around their birthdays!
Happy Belated Birth(2)day(s late)Ernie (and Bunny too)!

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thanks OMR

The difference between Ireland and here is that there is a pot of gold at the end of the Irish rainbow. Humboldt county has gilded pot.

Bunny said...

I'd say there are plenty of pots of gold in them there hills. Thanks OMR.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Now that Bunny is reading. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BUNNY!

Bunny now meets all of the qualifications of a dues collectiong member of society. She has earned it!

commoncents said...

THANK YOU for posting this!

I'm glad I found your blog!!

Steve
Common Cents
http://www.commoncts.blogspot.com

Stephen said...

Your triple rainbow image made me remember seeing something I thought impossible while standing in the parking lot of the old Evergreen Store (pre-Chataqua epoch) on an overcast day: a diamond shaped rainbow. Years later a geologist friend with a book on rainbows showed me that it can occur which I believe is the origin of the God's Eye symbol.

Anonymous said...

Maybe y'all have seen the double rainbows as I have, where one is parallel with and just under or over the other one. Now imagine seeing a triple of that!! That would be six rainbows.

Oregon

P.S. Send photo

Kym said...

Belated birthday wishes to Ernie and Bunnie!

Rose said...

I LOVE these triple rainbows - Fred has some posts on seeing these too!

Tapperass said...

That is one great picture.

Ben said...

I have a picture of a rainbow, taken from the Costco parking lot on a clear day in Eureka. Not a cloud in the sky but a bit hazy.

Anonymous said...

pretty sure I see a 4th one to the left of them all. Very faint though

#19A said...

The "best answer from Yahoo" is not applicable. With the sun 5 degrees above the horizon, the double rainbow is concentric around a point 5 degrees below the horizon. If there is a large, calm body of water nearby, the sunlight will bounce into the sky at an upward 5 degree angle. The third (and fourth) rainbow is centered around a spot in the sky, 5 degrees above the horizon. That's what the picture shows: two regular rainbows with a below-ground center, and two fainter rainbows with an above-ground center.