Rainbow Circle

August 19, 2005


Provided and copyright by: Marla Hart
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster; Marla Hart

I took this photomontage of a spectacular circular rainbow from my balcony at roughly 6 p.m. on June 10, shortly after a rain shower passed by. The only way to capture this impressive rain circle was to take multiple digital photos. I live on the 11th floor of a condominium building that's on top of a small hill (about 400 ft or 122 m), near Commencement Bay, Washington (on Puget Sound). As shown above, with a little altitude, the 180 degree bow becomes a 360 degree circle. Actually, a rainbow is essentially a circle of refracted and reflected sunlight about the antisolar point (point opposite of the Sun). The angle of the lines (from our eyes) pointing to the center and to the edge of the circle is about 42 degrees. Pilots quite often see rainbows which are nearly complete circles.

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