Tertiary Rainbow

July 23, 2014

BA1G_290614_01 (1)

Photographer: Michael Grossmann; Michael's Web site
Summary AuthorMichael Grossmann

The photo above shows an unusually bright tertiary, or third order, rainbow that was captured over Kampfelbach, Germany. These bows are rarely seen but knowing just where to look may help you spot one. To detect such a bow, unlike primary and secondary bows, you must look toward the Sun. If you notice a rain shower in the direction of the Sun and observe a bright zero order glow, look to the left and right of the Sun and you might see a very faint glinting bow. This is the tertiary rainbow. Triple reflections inside raindrops create a tertiary bow approximately 40 degrees from the position of the Sun itself -- the Sun is behind the clouds on this picture. Note also the crepuscular rays fanning out from just above the horizon. Photo taken on June 29, 2014.