Breakdown: Seeing double? Why double rainbows aren’t so rare

Seeing Double? Why double rainbows aren't so rare

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) -Double rainbows are so beautiful to see.

Double rainbow captured via skycam of Midtown Memphis
Double rainbow captured via skycam of Midtown Memphis (Source: WMC First Alert Weather)

Meteorologist Brittney Bryant captured this beautiful double rainbow display via our Memphis Midtown camera. If you haven’t gotten the opportunity to catch one, keep looking up. They aren’t as rare as they may seem and how they form isn’t so unusual.

Rainbows form when sun hits a raindrop and light bends or refracts. When sunlight hits the drop, the light reflects off the back of the drop, and bends again as light exits the raindrop.

A double rainbow happens when light is reflected twice in a drop. This is why we see two different reflections, deriving from different angles. It’s so cool to see and the higher secondary rainbow is usually more faint in color than the main rainbow.

A more rarer phenomenon is called a “twinned” rainbow. That’s when there are two rainbows that come from the same base but are split into two separate arcs. Check out the picture below.

Twinned rainbow
Twinned rainbow (Source: Unukorno)

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