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Ursa Astronomical Association
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Ursa Astronomical Association

Primary reflection rainbow - 22.5.2023 at 21.30 - 22.5.2023 at 21.55 Vesanto Observation number 116500

Visibility II / V

A picture from Vesanno from a week ago, my first rainbow sighting of the spring. This time we were lucky (also) when there was a piece of reflection rainbow in addition to the main arc. It was my first visual observation of it. The reflection arc was visible only on the right side of the main arc.

At the time the picture was taken on May 22, 2023 at 21:43, according to Stellarium, the sun was in direction 312 and at an altitude of 3 degrees (low in the northwest). It could be that the reflection of the sunlight may have come either from the local ground water or from the surface of Iso-Åland...

Additional information
  • Lightsource of the phenomenon
    • Sunlight
  • Common atmospheric phenomena
    • Primary rainbow info

      Primary rainbow or 1st order rainbow, is an arc that appears in the colors of the spectrum and is created when light is refracted and reflected in raindrops in the sky. Its outer color is red and its inner color is blue / purple.

      The main rainbow is visible on the opposite side of the sky from the light source that causes it. A typical light source is the Sun, but extremely rarely the Moon can also cause a rainbows. The lunar rainbows have an own category in Skywarden.

      One or more supernumerary bows may occur inside the main rainbow.

      The fully developed main rainbow is at the point of the shadow of the observer's head, i.e. the ring surrounding the so-called antisolar point. Usually the phenomenon is interrupted by the horizon, but from the air, the rainbow can be seen as a perfect circle continuing below the horizon.

      The rainbow gradually turns into a fogbow as the droplet size decreases. The smaller the droplets are, the smaller the rainbow is in size. Rainbows caused by the smaller droplets tend also to be thicker and the white color begins to dominate them. Usually, rainbow and fogbow are clearly separate phenomena, but sometimes intermediate forms can occur.

      Colors can be used as the primary guideline for distinguishing different bow-like phenomena. If the bow shows colors of the spectrum and is not white, it is a rainbow. If, on the other hand, the arc is mainly dominated by white and some of the colors in the spectrum are missing, it is a fogbow.

      Anomalies can sometimes be seen in the appearance of rainbows. They are reported in Skywarden by clicking the box for an anomalous rainbow. One anomaly is a point of discontinuity where the radius of the rainbow changes. The second is the division of the rainbow into two separate arcs.

      Rainbows of four different orders have been observed. A secondary rainbow, i.e. a 2nd order rainbow, occurs often outside the primary rainbow. 3rd and 4th order rainbows are very rare and occur in the direction of the light source (eq. on both sides of the Sun). Each order of rainbows in Skywarden has its own phenomenon identification tag/button.

      Primary and secondary rainbow. Image by Eetu Saarti.

      Primary (on the left) and secondary rainbow (on the right). Image by Vesa Vauhkonen.

      The primary rainbow is often seen as just a band of colors close to the horizon. Photo by Eetu Saarti.

      When the Sun is close to the horizon, the colors of the rainbow turn red. Primary rainbow can be seen on the left side of the picture along with a faint secondary bow on the right. Image by Vesa Vauhkonen.

      Primary rainbow from plane. Also a faint secondary bow is visible. Photo by Jouni Finnilä.

      Primary rainbow with supernumerary bows within the main arc. Photo by Arja-Sisko Airila.

      Strange weather condition with the primary rainbow in the horizon (Sun is at the height of 42 degrees). A faint secondary rainbow is also visible in the sky. Image by Jouni Matula.

      In dense rain, a rainbow may appear against nearby buildings or the forest. Here the main rainbow stands out weakly against the forest behind the apartment building. Photo by Matias Takala. 

      This slightly divided main rainbow (at the top) is probably a sign of flattened water droplets. Image by Jaakko Kuivanen

  • Rare atmospheric phenomena
    • Primary reflection rainbow info

      Heijastuspääsateenkaari on harvinainen ilmiö, joka syntyy kun auringon valo heijastuu veden pinnasta. Tavallisesti se havaitaan pääsateenkaaren tyvestä erkanevana lyhyenä pätkänä. 

      Heijastussateenkaaret saartavat teoriassa kokonaisena ympyränä vasta-aurinkopistettä, joka sijaitsee taivaalla Auringon korkeudella sitä vastapäätä. Käytännössä heijastussateenkaarista on nähty vain osia.

      Auringon tason yläpuolella näkyvä osa heijastussateenkaarta syntyy Auringon suunnassa tapahtuvasta heijastuksesta, alapuolella näkyvä osa sateenkaaren suunnassa tapahtuvasta heijastuksesta. Yleensä heijastussateenkaaresta nähdään pätkä sen laidoilta. Hyvin harvoin heijastuspääsateenkaari on havaittu ylimmästä osastaan.

      Silloin tällöin heijastuspääsateenkaaren yhteydessä näkyy myös heijastussivusateenkaari, jolle on Taivaanvahdissa oma kategoriansa.


      Heijastuspääsateenkaari (nuoli) näkyy pääsateenkaaren juuresta nousevana pystynä kaaren pätkänä. Ulompana vasemmalla on sivusateenkaari, mutta ei sen heijastuskaarta. Kuva Dana Pittauerova.


      Pitkä heijastuspääsateenkaari nousee pääsateenkaaren tyvestä. Näkyvillä on myös himmeämpi sivusateenkaari, joka kuvan yläosassa risteää heijastuspääsateenkaarta. Kuva Panu Lahtinen.


      Pää- ja sivusateenkaarten välissä nousee lyhyt pätkä himmeää heijastuspääsateenkaarta. Kuva Tom Eklund.

Technical information

images, Lumia 1020

Comments: 2 pcs
Mikko Peussa - 4.6.2023 at 00.37 Report this

Onnittelut ensimmäisestä heijastuskaaresta!

Marko Riikonen - 4.6.2023 at 06.56 Report this

Kyllähän näitä useita saadaan joka vuosi Vahtiin, mutta sen oman näkeminen ei putoa ihan tuosta vaan. Pätkä näkyy auringon tason yläpuolella mikä tarkoittaa heijastuksen tulleen kuvan ottajan takaa.

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