Red Rainbow Over Athens

April 13, 2008

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Provided by: Chris Kotsiopoulos, Hellenic Amateur Astronomy Association
Summary authors & editors: Chris Kotsiopoulos, Jim Foster 

The photo above showing a majestic rainbow nobly arching over Athens, Greece with Penteli mountain in the background is a synthesis of four pictures taken on November 19, 2007 at about 5:00 pm local time. These photos were combined in Autostitch and processed in Photoshop. This reddened primary bow appeared just before sunset and lasted for a few minutes. As is the case with sunset colors, only the red colors, the longest wavelengths of visible light, can be detected in rainbows once the Sun approaches the horizon.

In Greek mythology, the rainbow was considered to be a path made by Iris, a messenger between Earth and Heaven. According to an old Greek tradition, there are treasures and gold at the end of the rainbow. In this case, this legend has merit because at far right, near where the bow approaches the surface, is the Olympic Stadium, where the best athletes of the world received their gold metals at the Olympic Games of 2004. Note the waxing gibbous Moon, just visible at the extreme right of the photo, coyly positioned behind thin clouds. Click on photo for a larger view.