Snow Bow

May 18, 2023


Photographer: Daniele Cascone   
Summary Author: Daniele Cascone; Jim Foster

Featured above is a low-slung rainbow draped over the snow-covered landscape of one of the flanks of Mt. Etna. This bow’s formation has nothing to do with the snow itself. Rather, like all rainbows, the interaction between sunlight and raindrops results in these colorful arches.

Low rainbows can be observed only when the Sun is relatively high in the sky. Here, it’s about 38 degrees above the horizon. The higher the Sun, the lower the bow. At sunrise or sunset, the center of the rainbow arch lies on the horizon. But as the Sun rises in the sky the bow's center sinks. So, once the Sun reaches 42º high (not quite ½ away between the horizon and the zenith), only the very tip of the bow is visible above the horizon. Photo taken on March 11, 2023.


Mt. Etna, Sicily, Italy Coordinates: 37.7510, 14.9934

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