Cloud Bow Over Southeastern England

February 24, 2017

StraightRainbow

Photographer: Kiran Chakravarti
Summary Authors: Kiran Chakravarti; Jim Foster

I was fortunate enough to see the magnificent cloud bow shown above from my home near Hertfordshire, England, on the morning of January 19, 2017. The Sun is directly behind the camera -- opposite in the sky of the bow. Unlike rainbows, cloud bows (and fogbows) result almost entirely from diffraction processes. Sunlight interacting with the tiny droplets that composed these stratocumulus clouds, and not falling raindrops, formed this bow. In essence, diffraction acts to make cloud bows broader and paler than their much more colorful cousins. Though, if you look closely you may be able to detect a hint of color here. Note that the shed-like structure at right center is my observatory. 

Photo Details: Camera Model: Canon EOS 450D; Focal Length: 18mm (35mm equivalent: 18mm); Aperture: ƒ/8.0; Exposure Time: 0.0031 s (1/320); ISO equiv: 100; Panorama stitched together in Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 (Windows).

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