Sunday 3 December 2023

SEEING RAINBOWS by Sharon Tregenza


Apparently a double rainbow is a rare sight. I've seen two this year. One outside my house...

And the second a couple of weeks ago at the Attenborough Nature Reserve near Nottingham.

They were certainly a thrill. I thought I pretty much knew the science-y bit: that they're formed when sunlight shines through water. That refraction happens when light travels from air into water and when the refracted light enters the water droplet, the light reflects inside the droplet, out into the air and splits into seven colours (I just looked that up to check I'd got it right 😆) 

But I didn't know about double rainbows (twinned rainbow is the proper name). They're formed when  the light gets reflected twice inside the droplet, creating a reflection of the reflection. 

Because I'm still writing about myths and traditions I looked up some of the symbolism of twinned rainbows and they feature in many cultures and religions. They're seen as a positive sign: good luck, a new beginning, spiritual awakening. Not sure if there are two pots of gold at the end of them though.

I'm hoping that as I've seen two - I'll get double the good luck next year. 🤞


Stroppy Author said...

And the second rainbow has the colours reversed. So from the inside of the first, the sequence is VIBGYOR [dark bit] ROYGBIV :-)

Penny Dolan said...


Sharon Tregenza said...

Ooh, didn't know that - about the reverse colours. :)

Polly said...

It's rare to see double rainbows, but they aren't rare in and of themselves, as almost all rainbows have a twin, it's just often to faint to see from the same angle. I've seen a lot of them in rural areas, where the sky is clearer and the skyline is lower!