Rainbow in front of Mt. Verstovia

I was impressed by the intensity of this rainbow I saw recently, and also by its width. I remember reading that the brightness of a rainbow has to do with the size of the water droplets that the sun is shining through, but I do not know if this would have anything to do with the apparent width. I don’t know if part of it is perspective, the sun was still fairly high in the sky, so the rainbow was not such a high arching one.

It also seemed like I saw more of the colors. I remember learning about ROYGBIV from a trivial pursuit question, but until today I don’t remember seeing a rainbow that made me think I could actually see all the colors. In this case, it was so wide, I thought maybe it was starting back the other way as in a double rainbow, but it didn’t really look like a double rainbow, because the second bow is generally outside the primary bow, where as in this case it seemed like the extra color was on the inside.

Questions I now realize don’t know the answer to:

  • What determines a rainbow’s (apparent) width?
  • Can there be a second rainbow on the inside?
  • What determines the width between the two bows in a double rainbow?

If you have additional questions that come to mind, or thoughts on these, please leave a comment.

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