Morning Rainbow Progression

September 01, 2009

20090901 - Morning Rainbow Progression

Photographer: Paul Gitto
Summary Author: Paul Gitto; Jim Foster
The photo sequence above showing a morning rainbow over Whiting, New Jersey was captured on August 22, 2009. This stunning bow lasted for 90 minutes. The sequence begins at 6:58 a.m. (local Eastern Daylight Time) and ends at 8:19 a.m. Note how the rainbow moves closer to the horizon over time, in inverse proportion to the Sun climbing in the eastern sky. Aside from the primary rainbow, other bows and bow features that could be observed this glorious morning were the secondary rainbow, Alexander's dark band (between the primary and secondary bows), supernumerary bows just beneath the primary bow, and a rainbow wheel (anticrepuscular rays appearing as faint spokes on the primary bow – frame 2, upper right).

The weather pattern responsible for the formation of this long-lasting bow sequence was quite fortuitous. Although showers were in the vicinity that morning, Hurricane Bill, centered more than 200 miles (320 km) offshore, prevented a storm system (cold front) from moving east. A break in the clouds permitted the Sun to shine through, initiating the rainbow event.

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