Rainbow from Aloft

November 13, 2014

Glory Rianbos over Germany

Photographer: Daniel Herron
Summary Authors: Daniel Herron; Jim Foster
The colorful set of curving stripes shown above may look like a halo but it's really a rainbow. On approach to Munich our plane passed through a light rain shower. As we turned to land the Sun was positioned directly behind us, and this amazing rainbow magically appeared. Actually, all rainbows are circular. However, when we're stuck on the ground we're limited to seeing only the familiar arch and so assume that rainbows stop at the horizon. It was realized by Rene Descartes in the 1600s that a primary rainbow is a complete circle with a radius of approximately 42 degrees -- the minimum deviation angle of sunlight passing through raindrops. Note the much fainter secondary rainbow at upper left. Photo taken on September 21, 2014.
Photo Details: Camera Maker: Apple; Camera Model: iPhone 5; Focal Length: 4.12mm (35mm equivalent: 33mm); Aperture: f/2.4; Exposure Time: 0.0083 s (1/120); ISO equiv: 50; Software: Adobe Photoshop 7.0.