Encore - Four Rainbows Over Banks Lake, Washington

May 16, 2020

Quadruple Rainbow Small

Today and every Saturday Earth Science Picture of the Day invites you to rediscover favorites from the past. Saturday posts feature an EPOD that was chosen by viewers like you in our monthly Viewers' Choice polls. Join us as we look back at these intriguing and captivating images.
Photographer: Robert Orleth
Summary Authors: Robert Orleth; Jim Foster

July 2014 Viewer's Choice The photo above shows three obvious rainbows over Banks Lake in Washington State. It was taken a little before sunset on June 18, 2014. The bright primary rainbow is at left and its secondary rainbow is at right. In the middle is the primary's reflected bow, standing nearly vertical. In this case, the third bow isn't a result of a third reflection of sunlight within raindrops, rather it's due to the reflection of sunlight off of Banks Lake, then being refracted in the raindrops. You can tell that it's a reflection because the color scheme (blue on inside, red on outside) is the same for both the primary and reflected bows. Note that if you look very closely you can detect a fourth rainbow. The reflected bow has a very faint secondary bow as well -- just to the right of the major secondary bow.
Photo Details: Camera: Canon PowerShot G11; Focal Length: 6.1mm; Aperture: f/4.0; Exposure Time: 0.017 s (1/60); ISO equiv: 80.