The weekend weather was all a bit hit and miss but last night, just before the sun set there was a rather beautiful sight... not one, but two rainbows! Bridgend in South Wales was the lucky location, with David Hopes capturing this sight above his back garden!
Ceri also snapped this perfect double over Bridgend too. But why do we get double rainbows? And why don't they happen all the time? And why is one much fainter than the other? Let me see if I can answer.. without being two scientific about it!!!
Rainbows are formed when water droplets suspended in the atmosphere act as glass prisms. As the sunlight passes through them it splits into separate colours, and so we get this multicoloured arc effect. Secondary, or double rainbows happen when the light is reflected twice through the same raindrop. The secondary rainbow is fainter because as it always appears above the original rainbow it covers a larger area.
Whether you understand the science behind it or not, rainbows are absolutely magical things! And to see two is considered by some to be extra specially lucky! In fact Eastern cultures consider double rainbows as a symbol of transformation and a sign of good fortune... the first arc represents the material world, and the second arc signifies the spiritual realm.
Double rainbows aren't actually that rare, but they are quite stunning to see! A triple rainbow, however, is a different story! Official records show that so rare are these so-called tertiary rainbows that only five were reported in some 250 years! Perhaps we'd have more like trying to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! And if you DO happen to see three... well... please send me the pictures! You can tweet them to me @ruthwignall or email firstname.lastname@example.org