When you see a double rainbow, your first thought might be that it’s an extremely rare phenomenon. The truth is, while they are a rather uncommon sight, double rainbows are not quite as rare as you might think. They are also not as difficult to see as some people think. With the right conditions and with a bit of luck, you can probably see a double rainbow nearly every time there’s a double rainbow. And yet despite their relative commonness, most people who have never seen one before when they look up into the sky on the right day will at first probably assume that what they see is almost impossible. It is this sort of reaction that leads many to believe that double rainbows are so uncommon. But in fact, there’s nothing super special about them — other than their visual impact on most people — which is why seeing one doesn’t guarantee that you won’t see another for a very long time afterward.
How Rare Is A Double Rainbow?
A double rainbow is a rare phenomenon that occurs when two rainbows appear side by side. There are two types of double rainbows: primary and secondary. In a primary double rainbow, the second rainbow is closer to the ground and appears on the inside of the first rainbow. In a secondary double rainbow, the second rainbow is higher and appears on the outside of the first rainbow.
How To See A Double Rainbow?
1. Keep your eyes on the horizon
The first thing you need to do when trying to spot a double rainbow is look out to the horizon. You want to make sure that you are looking at the horizon just below where the rainbow would appear if it was at its highest point. You want the rainbow to be higher than the clouds so that it won’t get covered up by the clouds. You don’t want to look directly at the rainbow or you’re likely to miss it entirely.
2. Look for dark clouds before it rains
Double rainbows only appear when there is moisture in the air. The best way to tell if there is moisture in the air is to look for dark clouds. The darker the clouds, the more moisture there is in them. If you see dark clouds in the sky, look for the double rainbow within a few minutes. If the clouds are particularly dark, there’s a good chance that it will start raining soon. Dark clouds aren’t always the sign of the rain that you might think they are. The moisture in the air can cause clouds to form even if the temperature is warm. When it is cold enough to create clouds, the moisture in the air is likely to create a double rainbow as well.
3. Be near a waterfall or stream
Another way to increase your chances of seeing a double rainbow is to be near water. The double rainbow is a result of the interaction between water droplets and sunlight. When sunlight hits a water droplet, it refracts. This is the same principle that causes a spoon to look bent when it’s placed in a glass of water. In the case of a double rainbow, the refraction bends the light into two separate rays. Faster-moving water, like a stream, will create smaller water droplets. Smaller water droplets are more likely to refract the light. A slow-moving river will create larger droplets and fewer of them will refract the light.
4. Check for mist in the air
The mist in the air may not be visible to the naked eye, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. Double rainbows only appear in humid air, and the mist in the air makes it difficult to see the full length of the rainbow. When the mist in the air dissipates, the rainbow will disappear as well. If you see the rainbow in the distance, but the mist in the air is moving towards you, you’ll need to wait a little while before you can see the full length of the rainbow. If the mist is moving away from you, it will dissipate and you’ll be able to see the full length of the rainbow.
5. Go to an elevated place with no obstruction
Most of the time, you’ll be able to see a double rainbow after it rains. The best way to do this is to wait for it to rain, but if you want to speed up the process, you can put a pan of water outside. In a few minutes, you will have your first double rainbow. If you live in a place where it rains a lot like the tropics or the sub-tropics, you may be able to see a double rainbow on sunny days. Another place where you might be able to see a double rainbow on sunny days is at higher altitudes where the air is thinner.
Why Are There Two Rainbows?
- The reason there are two rainbows when there should only be one is that light is refracted by water droplets in the atmosphere. A normal rainbow, however, is formed when light is reflected off a water droplet. When these two beams of light meet up again in the air above the storm, they create two rainbows in the same place.
- Rainbows are created by light refracting (or bending) through water droplets, which is why they’re so closely associated with rain. But a double rainbow is created by two separate beams of light refracting through the same raindrop, which is why there are two rainbows in one place.
- The most difficult part of seeing a double rainbow is getting your eyes to focus on both rainbows at once. It requires a lot of effort, but it’s entirely possible to see both at once if you try hard enough. This can be done by first looking at one rainbow and then quickly shifting your focus to the other one. You’ll probably have better luck looking for a double rainbow in the sky than on the ground because it’s easier to find something that’s normally small than something that’s normally big (like clouds and raindrops).
Where Can You See A Double Rainbow?
- The best places to look for a double rainbow are near the ocean or a large lake. The coast is especially good, as the double rainbow is often referred to as a “mock rainbow”. This is when the sun is behind you and the rain is at your back, so the light bends around toward your side and into your eyes, creating a second rainbow.
- Double rainbows are also more likely to occur in tropical regions such as Hawaii and South America, as well as near large lakes in the mountains or near the Great Lakes in North America.
- Double rainbows are fairly uncommon, but they can be seen in many places around the world. They are most commonly seen in tropical climates, near the ocean, and during the rainy season. The best time of year to spot a double rainbow is in the summer months when there are frequent storms.
- Double rainbows can also be seen in mountainous areas because mist tends to form when air is forced up a mountain or steep hillside. There is also a good chance of seeing a double rainbow if you live in an area that has frequent thunderstorms. These conditions can create double rainbows anytime between July and September, but they’re more likely to happen during the summer months when there is more moisture in the air. Double rainbows have been spotted as far north as Canada and as far south as New Zealand. They’re not very common though, so you might have to wait years before you see one!
Double rainbows are beautiful and rare, but they’re also extremely easy to see. You just need to be in the right place at the right time and have a little bit of patience. Then, you’ll be able to see one of nature’s most beautiful sights. If you want to see one, the best thing you can do is wait for it to rain. Then, you can either wait for the rainbow to appear or speed up the process by putting a pan of water outside. Even if it’s a sunny day, you may be able to see a double rainbow if you live high enough.